The year 1928 was the first in which the city began to create giant figures who settled in the neighborhoods and already at that time began to compete for the beauty of each of them. Since then and until our days, they have not stopped growing and generating admiration. Over the years they were building figures that have given today to the impressive bonfires, the gigantic figures that ‘take’ the streets and neighborhoods of Alicante for a few days.
The Bonfires of San Juan have a very specific period of celebration, although in reality, all the Alicante region prepares them and lives them throughout the year. The associations are responsible for this, thanks to which Alicante shows more than a hundred figures, which are called bonfires in the same way that in the neighboring city of Valencia calls them fallas. And they compete in beauty, originality and also criticism, which is one of the essential and characteristic components of these figures.
During your visit to Alicante you will love visiting the city to see these ‘ephemeral monuments’ that you will find throughout the city. In addition, the center of Alicante is cut to traffic so it is more comfortable to walk.
If you come to Alicante with children, you will enjoy contemplating the colorful figures that also have a format for them, the children’s bonfires. And when you get to the port you will discover that bonfires can also be placed on the sea.
The festivities of Bonfires of San Juan also go hand in hand with gastronomy. The tradition calls for eating ‘bacores’ (brevas) and ‘coca amb tonyina’ (a juicy and salty cake of tuna belly, onion and pine nuts) on June 20, the day when the great figures officially appear on the street. But there is much more to try from the rich cuisine of Alicante. And of course, there is no lack of sweets and in this season you have to refresh yourself with a delicious ice cream.
The festival of Les Fogueres de Sant Joan is lived on the street and joy fills any corner of the city. The music sounds at all hours, the fireworks are present every noon in the Plaza de Luceros where the famous contests of Mascletás, real symphonies made with gunpowder, are held.
Thousands of people gather around the square to enjoy the nearly 15 minutes of the pyrotechnic show. In the afternoon you will love to contemplate the folklore of the city, you have the opportunity to see costumes parades of the bonfires associations whose costumes are related to the reason for your bonfire. The International Folkloric Parade, with representatives from other regions and even from abroad, is very appreciated and loved throughout the region, it is a parade full of surprises, dancing, music, circus, magic, giant articulated dolls, animals… anything can happen. At the peak of the week the emotional Flower Offering to the patron saint, the Virgen del Remedio, celebrated for two days. Thousands of men, women and children carry bouquets with emotion to the Cathedral of San Nicolás, building an immense floral tapestry.
You will be surprised and delighted to see the traditional costumes worn by the people of Alicante for this occasion.
During all that time the streets of Alicante are always bustling and full of joy. The bonfires are very participative and in the streets the ‘racós’ and the ‘barracas’ are mounted, which are spaces where Alicante and visitors eat, drink and dance, since music is always present. Enter them and feel the party from within.
On June 24, let yourself be enveloped by the magic of fire. The people of Alicante literally take to the streets to live the night when everything is renewed. A pyrotechnic show precedes the ‘cremá’ (burning) of each of the bonfires. At 12 o’clock at night the bonfire of Alicante burns, which is placed in the town hall square, and from that time and for much of the morning, the fire consumes the rest of the figures. One of them will have reached the glory, obtaining the first prize of Special Category, the most coveted of all those that during these celebrations are granted.
Another very widespread tradition, especially among young people, is to get wet while you admire how something so beautiful is consumed by fire in minutes. If you want, you have the opportunity to participate in the ‘banyà’.
The firefighters who control each fire are ready to wet the assistants of the first rows who ask for water to cool off from the heat that the burning figure gives off. After the fire, the party lasts one more week. Until June 29 you have an appointment around midnight with the International Fireworks Competition. Once again, the people of Alicante take to the streets and take the best positions to contemplate the castles of fires that are fired from the Postiguet beach. Thousands of people then take the sand as a family, with friends, to enjoy the show. And many take the opportunity to take a night bath in the quiet waters of Postiguet
If you have not been to Alicante, do not miss the Bonfires. And if you have already come, you know what it is to daydream during a party that welcomes you, they catch you and do not let you think about something else.
Alicante is a party. Come and live it.