21 Jun 2009

Hogueras: the downside of the festivites, SJ-3

Every coin has two sides. When the light shines there are always shadows lurking around somewhere. And so even with crazy fun holidays there's always a downside.

I was planning on leaving this for a later date, perhaps as a "hangover" piece once the festivities had finished. But my mind and body have decided to do it today... probably a result of coming home exhausted from >3h wandering around town taking pictures and videos of various Hogueras and people, and being too tired to do anything with them tonight (it's almost midnight). That and the kids down below my appartment setting off firecrackers, grrr!!!

Let's just say that there are A LOT of people who don't like these fiestas and vacate town for a couple of days (if possible) every year around this time...

So, to start it off I'd say the main downside to this fiesta is definitely the NOISE! When you've got several of these in every neighbourhood (fortunately they're only allowed to be there during these fiestas)...
...and the kids are out of school,
then this is the inevitable result:
This is the one time of the year I wish I didn't have a "park" (more like dirt lot) below my place, as it's the perfect spot to set off firecrackers! And off they go, at all times of the day (and into the night)! And you can hear them from pretty far away.
Oh, and four-legged critters? They can hear them from even farther off than you and don't like it one bit! See example below:(we can't let her out without her leash anymore, if she hears a firecracker she rushes off home, through traffic or anything else!)

Let's see... another downside? Well definitely the traffic! With so many streets cut off all over the city (and many parking lots inaccessible), moving around in a car is nothing short of a nightmare these 5 days! But then that's why we have public transportation, right? ;o) Unfortunately some of the big awards-winning Hogueras are at the other end of town so if I want to see them then car it is... :s

And finally... environmentally this holiday just sucks! I've tried to look up info on the carbon footprint of the Hogueras (or any other popular Spanish holiday) and have found zippo! But when you consider just the sheer amount of gunpowder exploding over two weeks... you know there's definitely an impact! Not to mention the extra trash generated. And let's not stop and think that these beautiful constructions cost a lot of money to make... to be burnt in a single night! But then many people participate in this, each giving a certain amount so the financial impact is spread out thinly, and much of the money will go to the designer and the builder so at least someone gets a job out of it.

So there you have it. The musings of a tired brain who is promptly going to hit the sack and crash for the night. Tomorrow I'm going to have to sort through all those photos and go through the ritual "do you like this one better? or this one?" argh!!! Plus I have to head out for some day shots and try to get to some of the big prize winners on the other side of town.

Oh, and just for the record, in spite of any and all "downsides", I really love these Fiestas! ;o)

Good night!


  1. CHRIS....CHRIS. Wake-up. 10 minutes to Merlin. Thank you. Gorgeous puppy. I loved the festival this was fun.

  2. I remember when I was young and never noticed the noise;) Like on July 4th... (coming too soon) In the country they like to shoot guns along with the fireworks. Plan on being up late!

  3. 10' to Merlin?! I missed it! darn! Oh well, the dvd should be available in a month (in the UK). :p

    Yeah, kids are always happy with noise, especially when they're making it! ;o)
    In any case people who are deeply involved in the Fiesta don't mind all the noise and hubbub, they're having too good a time! And quite frankly it only bothers me from time to time! But then I don't live with a "Barraca" beneath my window (the place where neighbours participating in Hogueras gather for their meals and dancing etc.) like so many people downtown do!

    Also, I can enjoy it much more now than when last I lived in Alicante... I was in University and wouldn't you know... June is Finals month! Just try studying with lots of noise and realising that what you really want to be doing is partying instead of being locked up with your books! :p

  4. Hi Chris,

    Hope you get some peace soon.

    Happy Summer Solstice to you.

  5. Don't worry, I don't really need all that much peace... I'm used to noisy summers and most noises in general, I'm a city girl. :p

    Besides, as of tomorrow night I'll be joining in the noise making! A bailar!!! :o9

  6. I know what you mean about not minding the noise when you're there, I love street festivals and parades! I went to a lot of them in California, but don't here in Florida. Here too many people just use them as an excuse to get belligerently drunk and spoil the fun of others. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a teetotaler, but public drunkenness is a pet peeve of mine.

  7. My dog gets rather aggitated by noise as well - he's been very upset lately because neighbors have been setting off fireworks even though 4th of July is still almost 2 weeks away.

  8. yeah, the dog's the one who suffers the most. My parents take her once a day in the car to another town to be sure she'll poop! she's too stressed out to do it around here... :s

    public drunkeness isn't much of a problem here. Drinking is forbidden out in the streets except during this holiday and New Year's Eve, and except for the teenagers and university students most people drink pretty responsibly anyways. Since it's not such a big deal people don't go out of their way to "get drunk" (except for some university students)

  9. Wow - you have been busy! Loving your photos. I am just back from Madrid - it was so hot! 38 degrees is not good when you're all suited up!

  10. Ouch! Indeed, bad temperature for a suit!
    The central plateau is always an oven in the summer... but at least it's dry!
    Hope it wasn't all work and no play though! ;o)


Hey there! Yes you! The quiet one in the back... I'd love it if you hung out for a bit and shared your thoughts!

I might stop by your place with an answer, but I'm more likely to reply right here so click on "email follow up comments" if you'd like to see what I and others have to say and come continue the conversation! ;o)