The Bonfires of Saint John of Alicante are an unique spectacle with a long tradition, which fill the city with color
We had the good fortune to be staying in one of the areas of the Bonfires of Alicante, also known as the Bonfires of Saint John of Alicante (Spanish: Hogueras de San Juan, Valencian: Fogueres de Sant Joan). While lesser known from a tourist perspective than the Fallas of Valencia, they still have a long tradition of indisputable beauty and rich street atmosphere, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was purely by chance that we found the party. Our intention was simply to relax on the beach and enjoy the food of Alicante and its province.
The Bonfires of Saint John of Alicante, as its name indicates, is celebrated during the festival of Saint John, from June 20 – 24. We did not really experience the first part of the festival, when Alicante celebrates “La Plantà”, the entry of bands, the offering to the Virgin of “Los Remedios”, the prize awarded to the international folkloric parade and the “cremà” on June 24th. It is interesting to note that the festival of Saint John is also celebrated in Malaga on the same day. In Malaga it is said to be bad luck for students who have exams on this date.
After entering the city, we started to see the original, extravagant “ninots” (large wooden sculptures usually depicting famous people or characters with an ironic political or social message) in each neighborhood and listened to the music played by the bands. We found a great spot to view the bonfire. In the center of the bay there is a huge ninot in the shape of a wheel. People waited for the bonfire to start (around 12:30am). Behind us on the boardwalk there were stands selling fried dough, ice cream and all kinds of sweets. The bonfire started immediately after the fireworks at the town hall.
The structure took about 10 minutes to burn completely, all the while fire fighters were showering it with water from their huge hoses. Despite the fire fighters efforts, you could still feel the heat from the fire on the boardwalk. After the bonfire, we found an outdoor discoteca on one of the main Avenues of Alicante. We stopped for something to drink and to enjoy the atmosphere. We even found boquerones (sardines) on the sidewalk (well, maybe they weren’t boquerones…but Rusko thinks maybe they are his cousins). Surely one year we will look for a hotel in Alicante so we can stay longer and experience all the parties. We ruskommend experiencing the Bonfires of Saint John of Alicante with 4 boquerones.