The bonfires of San Juan in Alicante should be an obligatory sight to see for visitors that come to stay during the dates when the festival is on. You will be absorbed by its ambiance, its mascletas, its life. You will love it!
The bonfires of San Juan are the most important festival dates in Alicante, with interest from all over the world, the dates every year are the 20th to the 24th June. For us, the people of Alicante the arrival of the San Juan bonfires signal the arrival of summer, although for many university students in coincides with their end of year exams. During these fiesta days, you can feel a difference in the city, with its smells, sounds, fireworks, street decorations and live music from folk bands. All these things make the people of Alicante and its visitors feel ecstatic while they are absorbed by the parties.
There are many events that mark these fiesta days such as the mascletas (large and coordinated firework displays) which take place in Plaza de los Luceros between the 20th and the 24th and bull displays in the Plaza de los Toros with musical concerts and flower display. Many people reserve tables in the 'barracas' (special booths set up in the street) that are located all over the city to meet with friends and to dine and celebrate. It is traditional during this fiesta to eat 'la coca amb tonyina' (a type of tuna and onion pie), green beans and garlic mayonnaise. Every evening live music is played in the barracas and people dance the night away while enjoying their drinks.
Although most of the barracas are private and have to be reserved there are a few that are open to the public such as the one opened by the radio station 'Los 40 principales' in Calle Gadea.
In the Parque de Canalejas you can usually find groups of young people with their bottles of booze. It is a place where many young people go during the fiesta to talk and share their alcohol. It is a place to where many tourists are attracted.
The fiesta starts with the 'planta' which is the construction during the preceding days of the bonfires that are going to burn. People usually use wood, cork and cardboard to build them. Every year the fiesta has a theme that is usually chosen to criticize or mock a trending news them in caricature. There are usually around 80 large bonfires and many small children's fires that compete for the winning prize.
Every year the 'Bellea del Foc' is chosen, to be the queen of the fiestas and she is present at all major events during the fiesta.
The night of the 23rd of June is the night of San Juan, many people from Alicante build bonfires on the beach and jump over them while making wishes. At the same time it is a great excuse to drink and have a good time with your friends and family.
The 24th of June is the last night of the fiesta when 'la crema' is celebrated. All of the bonfires are burnt after the firework show that lights up the Benacantil. The first bonfire to be lit ids the one in front of the council building followed by all the rest. At the end of theses fires it is traditional for the spectators to ask the firemen to wet (banya) them as well as put out the fires and they happily oblige!!
It is with mentioning the spectacular fire that burns on the water in Alicante port. It is amazing to see the burnt pieces of wood fall into the dark ocean. One week later there is always a firework display on the Playa de Postiguet where many people go to see the amazing show.
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