Bonfires of San Juan

Bonfires of San Juan (Alicante).

Festivity of International Tourist Interest

Alicante celebrates the arrival of summer with the bonfires of San Juan. In a spectacular display of music, colour and fireworks, thousands of people throng the streets to experience this fiesta which pays tribute to fire.

To celebrate the start of summer, locals used to go to the countryside to dine on 23 June: they would eat traditional food, and when it got to midnight, they would light campfires, dance around them, throw firecrackers and swim in the sea. This custom endured over the years, and in 1928 the fiestas of the Bonfires of San Juan were formally constituted.

For several days, Alicante celebrates this huge homage to fire, in which the authentic but short-lived works of art play the starring role: the "bonfires" – enormous figures made of cardboard and wood which are burnt on the night of San Juan.The queen of the fiesta, known as the Bellea del Foc (the Beauty of the Fire), is chosen in May from among the candidates presented by a committee in each neighbourhood. The festivities officially begin with the plantà, or building, of enormous bonfires with their tongue-in-cheek cardboard figures which fill the streets of Alicante with wit and good humour. That day, the barracas or large tents are also put up to serve as a public dance floor, and these are where fiesta-goers can sample the typical figs and cocas (a kind of pastry with tuna, onions and pine nuts).Some of the highlights of the festivities include the Entry of the Bands and Committees, with their respective "beauties" and their ladies-in-waiting wearing traditional dress; the floral offering to the patron saint of the city, the Virgin of El Remedio on 21 and 22 June; and the international folklore parade, a spectacular procession featuring dance troupes from all over the world. Moreover, at 2 pm each day between 19 and 24 June, pyrotechnics shows are put on in Los Luceros square. It is a good idea to wear earplugs to watch these noisy mascletàs, given the racket caused by the dust and fireworks.Finally, at midnight on 24 June comes the cremà (burning), the high point of the fiestas. After a spectacular white palm tree of fireworks, the bonfires all over the city are set alight and blaze away amid much merriment and dancing and singing, while fire-fighters shower the merrymakers with water in what is known as the banyà.But the fiesta is not over yet. From 25 to 29 June, there is a fireworks competition on El Postiguet beach, and the historic centre of the town comes alive with a medieval market and a range of shows.

Bonfires of San Juan (Alicante).

Alicante-Alacant, Alicante, Alicante - Alacant  (Region of Valencia) Tel.:+34 965145499 Website:

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