June 19-24, Alicante: Night of fires of St. Juan (Hogueras de San Juan)
On the Mediterranean coast in the east part of Spain is located the city of Alicante. It is one of the major tourist centers of the Costa Blanca. Every year it attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world. And tourists appreciate not only surprisingly mild climate (it is considered as the most healthy and good in Costa Blanca) with its picturesque bays and beaches and many historical monuments. In Alicante is held a number of famous festivals in Spain with colorful parades and fireworks. Virtually the entire holiday season in the city are held cultural actions, from circus competitions to the festival of balloons.
But the most famous and popular holiday is Holy Juan Night (Hogueras de San Juan). Many visitors try to get to this festival and local residents are looking forward for it. Hogueras de San Juan is an analogue of the Russian Ivan Kupala and it is also dedicated to the day of the summer solstice. But in Alicante this festival is celebrated during 6 days from 19 to 24 June.
This holiday in Alicante is celebrated for more than thousand years. Initially St. Juan Day was the so-called "street festival", where citizens leaving nearby organized small presentations with plays and music, and also bred a lot of fires (to help the sun, because since this day the day becomes shorter). But in 1928 according to the initiative of the Mayor Jose Maria Pi, Hogueras de San Juan was established as official holiday. And since then it is widely celebrated. Already on June 19 on the streets and squares of the city are set gigantic cardboard and wood figures, which will be burnt on the night of June 24 under the deafening thunder of firecrackers and fireworks. Also during the holiday are held colorful parades, passacaglia (musical pieces for the organ), flower shows and bullfights.
Tourists, who missed Alicante festival, or those who want to extend the holiday, will be able to stay in town for a few days. Immediately after Hogueras de San Juan begins the week of fireworks: every night on the banks are held salute contests, where participate professionals from around the world.