20 Jun 2009

Hogueras: Gigantes y Cabezudos

I saw this on the official program and wondered what the hell it was as I'd never heard about it, at least not here in Alicante. From the name (giants and big heads) I related it to Carnavals in Belgium and other Midevil traditions but was surprised to see it here, new event for Hogueras? Then, when I was wandering around the plaza in front of City Hall yesterday I spotted these fellows peaking out the door:
Patiently waiting to head on out to see the Mascletà, these 8 "Gigantes" (giants) were receiving the finishing touches from their caretakers while other were finishing getting dressed to take them out:

So I asked around, and it turns out this group has actually recaptured an old tradition (yes, back to the Middle Ages) that was lost! These figures are from the 1960s-70s (but the tradition is much older). There are 4 couples, representing the history of Alicante:

The farmers Sento and Marieta, dressed in traditional Alicantino clothes.
The Christian King Alfonso X "El Sabio" (the wise, he "reconquered" the region) and his wife Doña Violante
The Moorish King Alí and his wife Cántara (according to legend when the Christian troops entered the city the king threw himself off the mountain-top castle -to this day you can "see" his face in the rock formation- and the combination of their names Alí+Cántara is what gave birth to the name Alicante)
The fisherman Nicolau and his wife Remediets, representing the link between Alicante and the sea
These four couples get taken out every day at 1pm and walk and dance their way through town until they reach the Plaza de los Luceros in time for the Mascletà at 2pm. Afterwards they mosy along back home to City Hall, accompanied by their 6 shorter friends "Los Cabezudos" (the big heads).
Here they are heading down the Avenida Alfonso X el Sabio on their way back to City Hall, dancing and prancing along to the beat of the drums and the melodies of the dolçaina:

I put this video together from a couple of snippets I took with my mom's camera:


  1. These are fantastic!! What fun to see them walking down one of your streets. Thanks for sharing the video, too!

    Okay, I think I'm ready to move to Spain now.

  2. My 6'5" hubby would feel a little short here! Looks like fun!

  3. Yeah Lol, lots of fun! I had this silly grin on my face the whole time! Tried to keep from laughing too much so it wouldn't be heard on the video (but you can hear my little screech when the one "giant" comes towards me saying "pelirroja guapa" lol!). Hehehe, but as I think about it and rewatch it, I still have a silly grin on my face! Might have to head back downtown another day to see them again! ;o)

    Yeah MzzLily... short is definitely the feeling!

  4. Anonymous21/6/09 18:09

    Great! Those big heads are cool!

  5. Chris thank you so much for all of this. It was so much fun. Awesome.

  6. I'm glad you guys are enjoy this! :o)

  7. Yes, you can see us at Fogueres and... other places as San Nicolás (December 6th) or Corpus. Look our pictures!: http://nanosigegantsalacant.jimdo.com/


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