The Spanish Language Blog

The night of San Juan is an ancient and traditional festival in many countries celebrating the beginning of summer. From Finland to Brazil, this festival in honor of San Juan is celebrated in different forms. In Spain, this old traditional summer festival takes place every year on the evening of June 23. Many towns and villages organize bonfires and parties on the beach or in the city center. The largest bonfire in Spain is on the beach in Alicante and is also known as "Las Hogueras de Alicante".

  • The original tradition states that Alicante residents jump around the flames seven times or run into the water.
  • Eventually, the fires go out with the help of the fire department, but in the city, the celebration continues for a few hours.
  • Each year there is a beauty pageant, the Belleza de Fuego (Beauty of the Fire), in which the winner is crowned Queen of the festival.

Looking at the past, the Hogueras originally had to do with celebrating the longest day on June 23 in the countryside. The celebration officially began with a festive dinner using local produce from the land, and around midnight the bonfires were lit around which residents danced. Over the years the traditional way changed, but in 1928 the Hogueras of Alicante were formally established. Today, it is somewhat similar to the Las Fallas festival in Valencia celebrated in March.

Now Alicante celebrates the tribute to San Juan starting June 19 for several days. During these days, the entire city is filled with large papier-mâché or wooden dolls called ninots, fireworks, mascletas, music and giant bonfires. A great popular festival with a spectacular ending on the night of June 24, when the créma begins: the burning of the dolls in the hundreds of bonfires that flood the sky with an orange hue. On the beach, the party continues into the early hours.

These days are of course dedicated to San Juan, but during the rest of the year Alicante is the perfect city for a city break. The medium-sized city is located on the Costa Blanca and has a diverse history with Roman and Moorish influences. Some important sights in Alicante include the Castle of Santa Bárbara, the old town hall and many impressive churches. The city has beautiful beaches for relaxing and good restaurants serving typical Spanish cuisine.

The Hogueras of Alicante is one of the most important and popular fiestas in Spain and in the province of Alicante. The Hogueras of Alicante equal fire, large papier-mâché dolls, music, parades and a cheerful summer atmosphere. For a few days, the city turns into one big party destination. Enjoy the arrival of summer in the best way possible: experiencing the magnificent and enormous bonfires of San Juan in Alicante.

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