Las Hogueras

I was fortunate enough to be able to witness the primary holiday of Alicante, which is called Las Hogueras. This day celebrates the feast day of San Juan, or Saint John. Over a million people attended the festivals, and the festivities lasted a full two weeks. During the first week, there were displays of las hogueras, which are giant art displays that cost 100,000 euros to make each. Every neighborhood creates and then displays their own hoguera, which gives the character to the neighborhood. In total, there are over 30 hogueras on display in the city. Every day, firework-like bangs called las mascletas go off in the center of Alicante during the day, which leads to a full day of partying and drinking through out the streets. Then, on the weekend, people head to the beach to make bonfires and jump over them. One of my friends actually got burnt while trying to jump over the fire.

The biggest night of the festival is the night of San Juan, when the hogueras are burned to the ground one at a time. People proceed through the streets until they are all burned, which lasts until 5 or 6 in the morning. Overall, it is a huge festival and there is partying, drinking, and tons of tradition throughout. The night used to be more focused around religion, but as the country became more secular, so did the festival. Now, El Día del San Juan is only the name of a day, which doesn’t bear any religious significance to the largely

non-practicing country. On all levels, the citizens of Alicante see the festival in the same way. Although some know more about the history than others, the intent and cultural practices are what stand out for mostly everyone living there.

I had a lot of fun participating in the largest festival of Alicante, and surely enjoyed learning more about the development and significance behind it.