19 Jun 2009


Well, today for the first time ever I was able to get up close for a major Mascletà, and all I can say is: Oh WOW!!! That, and my ears are still ringing! :p

What's a Mascletà you ask? Well, by definition it's a series of firecrackers that go off in sequence one after the other (some simultaneously), set up kind of like dominoes, some times with fireworks included in the mix. A more "real" definition would be to say a Mascletà is a) a lot of noise, b) a lot of smoke and c) a lot of fun! oh, and d) typical of the Fiestas in the Comunidad Valenciana (where no decent "fiestas" in any town would be caught dead without a lot of noise-makers, firecrackers, fireworks etc.).
Ooh! thx wikipedia! Apparently according to the "rules" a mascletà must contain the following elements:
  • "Inicio" (beginning) - ensemble of visual and acoustic effects that start the show.
  • "Cuerpo" (body) - the central part must be continuously increasing in intensity and volume.
  • "Terratremol" (earthquake) - moment when the masclets (crackers) explode on the ground at a very high speed making the ground vibrate.
  • "Parte Aerea" (in the sky) - explosions of aerial rockets of higher intensity, always well visible and usually with colours.
During Hogueras there's an ongoing Mascletà Competition between June 19th and June 24th. 6 different Pyrotechnic groups (one per day) set up their crackers in an area around the Plaza de los Luceros. At precisely 14h00 the Bellea del Foc says "Señor pirotecnic, pot començar la masceltà" (Mister Pyrotechnic, you can start the mascletà), and a few seconds later... all hell breaks loose! A minimum of 7' (competition rules) of firecrackers banging and whizzing non-stop. Rockets screeching and shooting up into the air setting off fireworks whose glimmer you can just make out in the daylight. Smoke going up and up and covering the Plaza. And that final minute... the final BANGs... everything intensifies, the crowd goes wild, you know they're yelling at the top of their lungs because you are too but you can't hear it. The noise is (for the first time in my life) truly deafening! It's an amazing and very intense experience!!! And hopefully the following video I put together from today's show (bits and pieces, not the full 10' of explosions, don't worry!) will give you an idea of what it's like (pity I can't transmit smells as well):

Damn, after keeping me up a good part of the night now it appears that YouTube's embeding of this video isn't working properly! Argh!!! I've tried fiddling with the settings, hopefully it will correct itself. If it doesn't, go see the video on YouTube:

Addendum: I found out that 132kgs of gunpowder were used!

This year there was also a nocturnal mascletà competition "Pólvora a la Nit" (nightime gunpowder), but since they were all weeknites at midnight I missed out (damn sense of responsibility!). I had planned on going yesterday (figured those would have more colours and lights than just noise) but found myself without a car, and when I went down today on the bus I discovered buses and trams are running all night long as of yesterday! lol! Oh well, next year! But you can check out a few pics from last night over at LinkAlicante (he's putting up quite a spread during Hogueras from what I can see, I'm positively envious!)

Oh wait! YouTube's great! I just found a few videos on the nightime ones! this one's not the best quality, but the others were just too long, and anyhow it gives you an idea:


  1. Like Fourth of July in the US. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kind of LoL, if the Fourth of July celebrations lasted 2 weeks (with the core events over 5 days)! ;o)

    I have vague memories of 4th of July celebrations as a kid. The last time I was there on that date was after my first year in college, but I only made it to DC in time to go to the fireworks on the National Mall (by far the most impressive I've seen in the US). I remember loving the fireworks as a kid, still do! But I'm much harder to impress now after so many years here in Alicante. In this area of Spain fireworks (and firecrackers and rockets) are practically a part of the cultural identity. Decent fireworks shows usually last at least 20' and are just breathtaking! I'll be sure to blog about the fireworks competition that starts next week as soon as Hogueras is over... ;o)

  3. Anonymous20/6/09 15:30

    2 weeks? That would drive me nuts!!! I love the fireworks. Montreal had a great fireworks competition, lasted most of the summer, each Sunday, a country would compete. I was lucky to see it for 3 summers when I lived in a highrise downtown, spectacular! I hope I can find some Canada Day celebrations around here!

  4. Well, it's only intense for 5 days... the 5 days before things start gearing up and there's more and more going on, but the 5 days after are more like a hangover... recouperating with just bursts of light at night due to the fireworks competition, oh, and occasional firecrackers around the neighbourhood as kids finish up their supply (only allowed to be sold during Hogueras)

    A competition all summer long?! Sounds like my kind of deal! :o)

  5. Anonymous20/6/09 21:37

    Yeah Cris, it's the International Fireworks Competition. It's really something to see. It's amazing to me how many shapes can be formed, all with colour and timing...I miss it! I always try to find them on YouTube, here's a really good one from last year!

  6. yeah, that is nice!
    Maybe I'll try and film some of this year's... I'll just have to make the Salomonic decision of wether to film or take pictures! Hmmm... maybe I can convince my sister to do the filming since she has a small camera that does video as well... ;o)

  7. Oooh, I'm jealous! This guy:

    got to see today's (sunday) Mascletà from up on high! great photos!

  8. Cris, are your ears still ringing? I just couldn't imagine the noise being right there, the video was amazing!

  9. Nah, I'm good now! In fact I was thinking of trying to head into town tomorrow to hear another one! ;O)

    The noise is LOUD, but what's amazing is feeling the vibrations in the air and through the ground... FABULOUS! (and more than worth a little ear ringing)


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