15 Jun 2010

El Pregon: Que comencen les festes dels Fogueres 2010!

In other words: Let the Fiesta BEGIN!!!

Every Fiesta needs a proper "official" start, and last Friday night (June 12th) was that of the Hogueras: El Pregón. A pregón is a speech, the opening address by some authority figure that is the kick-off point for any Fiestas in Spain. It usually takes place in a City Hall balcony, overlooking a crowd of participants in the fiesta. Here's Alicante's Plaza del Ayuntamiento just a few moments before the event was set to begin:

Crowded with people, most of them members of various Hogueras or Barracas, who came together in groups like this one to join in the party:

Some ladies came dressed in their finest:

their finest traditional dresses that is! ;o)

As is usual, things started off -somewhere else in town- with a parade that was just arriving to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. At its head: the dancing giants and their little friends with the big heads!

I wrote quite a bit about these guys last year when I saw them for the first time. As I look at the official programme for the Hogueras it turns that the Gigantes y Cabezudos are the preliminary act for a lot of official events over the fortnight! Here's their little dance as they enter the Ayuntamiento:

Next to arrive are the two Bellesas del Foc (adult and young) with their entourage:

My, that's a bit blurry... I have to make up my mind whether to take photos with my camera, or videos with my cellphone! Doing both simultaneously results in blurry pictures and wobbly video! :p

And then a bunch of other people that I'm guessing have some official capacity within the Fiesta... ;o)

They all head on up to the Ayuntamiento Balconies...

...where last year's Bellesa del Foc (at least I think that's her) introduces the man who will give this year's Pregón.
(even though I did A LOT of trimming, this video is still 5 minutes long -out of 20!- so check out if you want to try a hand at another language and get a feel for the passion of the man speaking, otherwise it's ok if you skip it)

Apparently he's very well-known with the Hogueras community (from the way she talks about him).

In any case most of his speech is about how this Fiesta has been in his blood since he was a child, as is the case for many festeros. He shares memories of the Fiesta and talks about how once you're involved with it it will never let you go... about how how many people return to Alicante in the month of June just to fully participate in the Fiesta. About how all the participants have reason to be proud of it, as people who have dedicated many hours of their lives to preparing Alicante's great fiesta. About how lucky we are to have a city like Alicante with the Mediterranean right there, how it's the best season for a fiesta, just on the cusp of summer. In other words everything's the best! ;o) He takes a moment to remember Festeros who are no longer here, who are looking down on the Fiesta from above and asks that we do them proud. He says their fire hasn't gone out, it lives on it us, and it's our job to see that it never does (go out).  Here's a partial transcript of the end, he seems to be mixing Castillian and Valenciano in a few spots:

"Alacant gracies a vosaltres siempre será una ciutat oberta al món. Perqué Alacant es Llúm, Alacant es Vida es Amistad. Alacant es ciudad per al futuro. Alacant a partir d'ara es Festa, es Fóc, Música, Pólvora, Belleza y Tradición. Alacant es alegría, Alacant es Fogueres!"

And that last cry is an order to BEGIN!

"El pregoner os crida, el pregoner os demana, el pregoner os ordena: que comencen les Fogueres!"

At one point all the lights around the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (and in surrounding streets)  turned on at once, as if by magic (although they were officially inaugurated the night before)

After that it's time to get musical and involve more of the population in the plaza while the marching band strikes up the Hymn of the Hogueras (and since I got a call right then I missed recording it since my cell phone is my video camera, lol!) and then the Hymn of Alicante:

 Both were quite impressive with the whole crowd in the Plaza in charge of singing the lyrics:

Then its The Bellea del Foc's turn to thank the people of Alicante for having elected her as their Queen, to say how much the Fiesta means to her and even more so this year. She reminds everyone it's not the time to think of the hard (economic) times, but to enjoy the brotherhood of the Barracas and to enjoy the fruits of a hard year's labours. She wishes everyone "els millors Fogueres de San Joan!"

Of course, this being Alicante and our fiestas being all about "fire"... we couldn't be without a few fireworks, now could we? ;o)

Nor could we just leave it at a proclamation... once this was over and people had eaten their dinners they started heading over to an area of the harbour known as the "zona Volvo" where a big "Fiesta del Pregón" had been organised by the Ayuntamiento, with a DJ from one of the hit radio stations, lots of shiny lights, white smoke and drinks that were cheaper than in the pubs on a usual Friday night! I went with a friend around midnight and we danced non-stop for about an hour and a half before we turned in. Early I know... but she had on a new pair of heels, and this was the first nocturnal outing for my ankle since the bad sprain three months ago and after 90' of mostly Latin music it was more than a little bit sore. I'm going have to slowly increase the dancing dosage if I want to last all night long at a wedding I have next month! :p
Anyhow, tried to do some video of the fiesta as well... but the bass levels interfered with the sound on my cell phone camera and the result is terrible! This shot isn't that great, but if you click it bigger you'll get an idea. Lots of teenagers in groups or with their parents and grandparents with their kids! ;o)

So, let the Fiesta Begin! 
Welcome to the Hogueras / Fogueres 2010!


  1. Looks like a BALL! smiles.

  2. Is that a picture of YOU in the middle, dressed in your finest?? As you have said so well, "let the Fiesta begin!" and even if people are too busy to comment, rest assured we're a-lookin' at your posts!!

  3. Gosh, this past year has flown by! I can't believe it's time for the Hogueras again, I enjoyed it so much last year through your eyes and I'm anticipating just as much fun this year. Hmmm…I wonder if Obama will make an appearance again?

    Sorry about the giveaway, I wish I could include everyone, but the postage is outrageous. It cost Julie @ Being Ruby almost $7.00 just to send me a photo.

  4. Emom, 2 week-long ball, with a VERY intense 4 day ending to it for those involved! I'm just a spectator.

    DJan, yes that is me in the middle (I so rarely get caught on film!) but definitely not in my finest! :p

    Rhonda I know, we stopped asking the family in the US for carepackages for that very reason! The only thing my mom orders now is TurboTax once a year! :s
    And yeah, time flies!!! I'll definitely keep my eyes open for Obama... perhaps there will be something to do with the Nobel Peace Prize he won? Although he was big news last year, this year we haven't heard so much over 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)