June in Alicante is always a busy time especially when it gets closer to the end of the month as everyone starts to prepare for the biggest festival of the year. Las Hogueras de San Juan – the Bonfires of Saint John. This event started back in 1928 so this will be the 90th year that it has been celebrated.
All over the city 88 elaborate and beautifully designed paper maché and wood statues are set up, each with its own 24 hour security guard, and the locals and tourists alike enjoy walking around and admiring these detailed works of art. There is even a museum in Alicante that displays miniatures of the winning hogueras from each year.
In the few days before the night of San Juan which this year was on the 24th June, there are many traditional parades throughout the city and on the stroke of mid-night a large cannon sounds and the burning of these structures begins. The atmosphere is truly electric and whilst the bonfires are burning the crowds often chant “Agua Agua” encouraging the firemen to turn the hoses in their direction for a refreshing blast of cold, to relieve them from the heat of the flames.
Also all along the beaches, for one night only, small fires are permitted and large groups of people join friends and family to celebrate this festive occasion and take part in rituals, such as jumping over the fire, throwing a wish written on a piece of paper into the fire and jumping backwards over the waves in the sea.
You will also see some amazing fireworks on the Night of San Juan and over the following 5 nights there is a firework competition and the displays are truly amazing and lucky for us, you can see them from Gran Alacant.
This festival is really fun and we have enjoyed celebrating it in different ways over the years with friends and we all recommend it.