Fiestas in Alicante
The said festival has sported varieties of nomenclatures as Noche de San Juan, Hogueras de San Juan, Fogueras, Bonfires of Saint John, but the modern festival is the amalgamated end product of an ancient pagan celebration of the summer solstice, and the Christian feast of San Juan. Marked as the key festival in the city of Alicante, the said festival is celebrated week-long, between June 19th to 24th. Before the year 1928, this fiesta was very similar in Alicante as the rest of Europe. Such festivals basically saw people gathering together and burning objects of choice. Through the initiation of one man in Alicante by the name of Jose María Py, the idea was adopted according to the pattern set by the popular fiestas across Valencia called Fallas. When three months lapsed, the first Hogueras de San Juan came into being, and Alicante was never the same again.
The heart of the festival’s heart lies in the Día de San Juan, where giant cardboard, wood and paper maché effigies end up in a larger than life conflagration, on June 24th.
What first transpires on the way to Día de San Juan is colourful parades, along with the Flower Offerings to Our Lady of Remedy. There is also a bull fighting festival while musical concerts endlessly reverberate all throughout. People don’t stop to slumber as the street partying goes from dusk until dawn. Mascletás (firecrackers) resonate across the city.
Before the bonfires on the 24th, tourists and locals throng to the streets during the week to tour around Alicante and get a thorough glimpse of the artsy works pending the torching. For good measure, a local transit even sets up a free Hogueras bus that tours the streets to take in all of the main Hogueras and some of the minor ones.
The thrill begins just before midnight. Countdown ticks down the time until the clock strikes twelve on the night of San Juan, when a grandiose firework display erupts from the Castillo de Santa Bárbara. The reverberating lights signals the lighting of las hogueras. Far from over, the fiery display raises the celebrations to fever pitch, washing the streets aglow from the rising flames. After the pent up anticipation, the festival ends in a mind blowing razzle dazzle.
After these, scathing remarks are thrown to the bomberos (firemen). This is a strange ritual expected of everyone in Alicante to sufficiently ‘motivate’ the firemen to shower the crowds.
Seven days later at the start of July, it is time for the Feast of San Pedro. More processions are paraded, more effigies are torched, more fireworks explode above, and more drinking and dancing ensue around makeshift wooden party enclosures known as ‘barracas.’ Apart from these significant celebrations, the rest of the year for Alicante is generally more subdued. In September, the annual theatre festival, dubbed the Alicante e Esena and the Alicante International Music Festival exhibit significant works concerned. In December, the International Puppet Festival showcases the best puppets from around the globe.
The Hogueras de San Juan
One of the most important events in the city’s diary. This festival has been officially declared to be of International Tourist Interest and its origins lie in the tradition of burning useless objects with the arrival of the summer solstice.
The main night of the Carnival in Alicante (Saturday Ramblero) gets its name from one of the main avenues of the city: the Rambla. This street fills up with people dressed up during this special evening. Costumes you can purchase, or home made for the occasion or even made out of rags, they are all great. You can dance for hours in your fancy dress. People from Alicante are very welcoming, nice and fun, so you can just let yourself go.
February or March.
The Holy Week Easter celebrations start on Palm Sunday, giving way to a week of processions by around 30 guilds and brotherhoods. One of the most popular and emotive is the procession through the narrow, steep streets of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood on the Wednesdey before Easter Sunday.
March or April.
Moors and Christians
These fiestas are celebrated in different neighbourhoods of the city throughout the year. They commemorate, in a festive style, the battles fought between Christians and Muslims back in the 13th century to reconquer the lands of the province.
Some of the city’s neighbourhoods dedicate a few days to this festival. One of the highlights is the procession through the city centre on the 6th December in celebration of Alicante’s patron saint, Saint Nicholas. It is a fantastic opportunity to witness one of the east coast of Spain’s most popular traditions.
San Blás District, July
Altozano District, August
In Honour to San Nicolás, December 6
The Hogueras de San Juan
This is the most important celebration, beginning on the 20th June and lasting until the 29th. It is a festival dedicated to fire, including events such as the proclamation (The Pregón), the setting up of the bonfires (the Plantà), the procession of the effigies ( Cabalgata del Ninot), parades and processions in different neighbourhoods of the city and the main event on the 24th June, the feast day of Saint John Baptist, when large satirical statues made of cardboard and wood are set alight.
Officially declared to be of International Tourist Interest, the Hogueras de San Juan include one of the most important bullfighting events in Spain. Once the main celebrations are over, there is a fireworks competition on Cocó beach at the far end of Postiguet beach, every night until the feast day of Saint Peter oh 29th June.
From 20 to 29 of June.
Christmas is a special time and the city of Alicante shines and shines. If you come to spend a few days or you are in Alicante during this time of year you will like to know that the city offers some endearing days through numerous activities and events so you have many things to do and see.
From December 24 to January 6
A market selling foodstuffs and arts and crafts, set up behind the town hall in the Old Quarter during the last week of June or the first week in July.
End of June or first week of July.
On the second Thursday after Maundy Thursday the popular pilgrimage known as La Peregrina to the Santa Faz Monastery takes place. The monastery is 5 kilometers from the centre of Alicante, and is where, according to tradition, the fabric that Veronica used to dry the face of Christ on the way of the Cross is kept.
April or May.
Throughout the year, residents of Alicante decorate its streets with colorful ornaments and carry out all kinds of activities to celebrate traditional festivals, Las Cruces de Mayo or Porrate San Anton, the festivity of Virgen del Remedio, Festivity of El Raval…
New Year’s Day: 1st January.
Epiphany: 6th January.
San José: 19th March.
Good Friday and Easter Monday: exact dates vary.
Santa Faz: Exact date varies (second Thursday after Maundy Thursday).
Labour Day: 1st May.
San Juan: 24th June.
Virgen de la Asunción: 15th August.
Region of Valencia day: 9th October.
Columbus Day: 12th October.
All Saints’ Day: 1st November.
Day of the Spanish Constitution: 6th December.
The Immaculate Conception: 8th December.
Christmas: 25th December.