The Bonfires of San Juan (Hogueras de San Juan or Fogueres de Sant Joan) are a tradition that has been celebrated in Alicante since 1928. They are Alicante’s main festivities and have been declared of International Tourist Interest. The main objective is to remember the birth of John the Baptist, who is the patron saint of Alicante.
The bonfires are lit on the eve of Saint John, June 23rd, and they burn all night long until dawn. The fire is thought to protect Alicante from evil spirits and witches who may attempt to enter the city during this time. The bonfires are lit on every street corner and in every beach in Alicante’s city and the festivity is celebrated with music, shows and fireworks.
When are the Bonfires of San Juan?
The bonfires are lit on the eve of Midsummer’s Eve, 23 June each year, at midnight and burn until dawn. However, the Midsummer’s Eve festivities last for more than a week, from 20 to 29 June. On the 20th “La Plantá” (set) of the bonfires takes place, from the 21st to the evening of the 23rd there are several parades and the Offering of Flowers to the Virgen del Remedio, on the night of the 23rd to the 24th “La Cremá” (the burning of the bonfires) takes place and from the 25th to the 29th fireworks are set off.
How to get to the Bonfires of San Juan in Alicante?
As we mentioned before, this festival is celebrated throughout the province, although in some places it is celebrated in a special way, such as in Postiguet Beach. In any case, with MiTaxi you can go quickly and comfortably to any beach of Alicante to celebrate the Bonfires of San Juan. If you are planning to go and see them, make sure you plan ahead and arrive early.
What is burnt in the Bonfires of San Juan?
Bonfires (Hogueras or Fogueres) are a monument of wood, cardboard, paper and cork made up of puppets. The themes of the bonfire do not have a specific concept, but usually represent a criticism of society.
Before the burning, there is an exhibition with representative figures of the bonfires called “ninots” (dolls), and through a popular vote one is chosen to be “pardoned”. The winner (Ninot Indultat) becomes part of the Hogueras museum.
What is done on this festivity
The Bonfires of San Juan are a very important part of the culture and tradition of Alicante. They are lit to celebrate the day of San Juan and to commemorate his birth. As the bonfires burn on the night of 23 June, people enjoy the spectacle and cope with the intense heat with the help of the firemen, who throw water on those present to cool them down in what is known as the “banyá”. On the other hand, there is a ritual that consists of jumping over the bonfires at least three times as a way of eliminating bad fortune. During these festivities, people gather around the fires to eat and drink wine or beer and then dance around the flames until dawn.