3 Jul 2009

Visiting Hogueras: Hernan Cortes

Drumroll please! It's time for the final Hoguera I'll be introducing you to this year, and my personal favourite: Hoguera Hernán Cortés by artist Manuel García Ramírez with the theme of "Jaque" (Check, as in the chess term) and a budget of ~ 130 000€.

Celebrating their 80th Anniversary the Hoguera took home 3rd Prize for the Categoría Especial and one of its ninots is the famous "ninot indultat" (reprieved, i.e. the one figure that will be rescued from the flames) for this year.

With that wicker giant chess piece presiding over the whole monument this Hoguera has definitely been the talk of the town this year! A beautifully made knight, with such a noble mien it was awe-inspiring! At its base were the rest of the chess pieces, representing well-known political figures or stand-ins for various members / categories of modern society. If you'd like to see images of it being built head over to the slideshow by the blog alicantedefiesta.es, I recommend you increase the speed though, it's a bit slow.

(I think this is my favourite shot from the Hogueras!)

As for me, I'll guide you around the monument and introduce you to several of the players. Hope you enjoy meeting them! ;o)

First off, the royalty! Queen Sofia (with her grandchildren by the two princesses in the baskets), King Juan Carlos I, Prince Felipe (heir to the throne) and his wife Leticia (holding their two daughters):

I just love the faces on these two towers! They're referring to the construction boom (high-rises in Benidorm -ugh!-, appartment buildings all over the palce) that has been suffering severly this past year (and more).

This one touches me directly, "Science", poor fellah (a bishop) represents how badly off research in Spain is. The black bishop behind him is "Religion", a bit more agressive!

Next off, all the pawns! Considered the "heart" or "soul" of chess, here they are the heart and soul of any society: its workers! And like any pawn, they're in pretty bad shape from being used and abused by the system.

This one says "Hoy por hoy el peonaje no tiene color ni raza tiene suerte el que trabaja en la crisis que atenaza" (nowadays being a pawn has nothing to do with colour or race, whoever works is lucky in this crisis which has us in its grasp):

Here's a group shot from the back (the tables were set for a reception, stopped me from getting any closer to these figures so I had to go back another day):

I'll talk about this guy soon, promise!

These three are hillarious! I love the rastafari knight! Ahhh... drug problems! Marihuana, Heroin (see the needle sticking out the side?) and I think the zebra is Cocaine?

I'll finish off with an allegorical representation of Alicante and her "fiestas" (more on her later):

P.S.: Just to prove I was here...



  1. Cliffhanger! Who will be spared from the flames? Will it be…could it be? I am on the edge of my seat Cris!

    I swear you're better than any TV show!

    Again we have the pawns and all they represent. What a wonderful journey you have taken me on. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Oh my, my word verification is pyrgod, do you see the word pyro hidden in there? I can't get away from the fire! lol

  2. Oh, I want the knight for my horse farm! Please spare it from the flame and ship it to me! I know I am unworthy...

    How long does it take one to learn all this about the festival? You seem to be very educated on the details.

  3. Hmmm... might be a tough shipment! I believe it took them 11 trucks to get everything in there (including the smaller figures)! :p

    And how do I know so much about all this?

    Well for one I've learnt a lot this year by looking for information so I could explain things better and share it with you guys! This is quite a wild (and sometimes confusing) event so I figured I'd better get my facts straight.

    And for two... well I kind of live here, I have on and off since 1995, and I've heard my mom talk about the Fallas in Valencia (similar concept, different artistic style, much bigger monuments). So in one way or another I knew a lot about all this before seeing my first Hoguera! ;o)

    But last year and this year are the first times I've really invested any time in the Hogueras. Last year I had a dozen friends over for the main weekend (and some stayed till the Cremà) so we got to experience all the nightlife related to it. This year I've taken advantage of not going out much at night (except at the end there) and having more free time during the day since most of my students cancelled classes that week. So I was able to go around and visit, explore, ask questions, look up info and then write about it here!


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)