Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Bonfire Night, Spanish style

Bonfires are the thing for the Fiestas de San Juan. However, the celebrations do not last for a single night, nor are the bonfires formed by a mere pile of rubbish. In some towns, such as Alicante, there are days of parades (Alicante is basically closed to traffic for the best part of a week) and other event leading up to the big night. And the "bonfires" are veritable works of art, incorporating huge statues that take months to create prior to their brisk incineration. Each barrio (neighbourhood) seems to have its own fire, but the "official" fire is located in the square of the town hall. The 2009 fire is 20 metres high and 12 metres in diameter (!) and the square is not especially large! Firemen must constantly water down the walls of the buildings that completely enclose the square. To get an idea of some of the wonderful constructions that pass as bonfires, visit this page of photos and do a few Google searches.

Here in Guardamar, things are not quite on that scale, but the bonfires are still prepared with great care and include their own figures, usually of a comical nature, reflecting local, national or international events and personalities. The main fire, shown here, is located next to the church. The fires will be started at one o'clock in the morning (yes, at 01.00h).

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