24 Jun 2011

Hoguera Oficial en la Plaza del Ayuntamiento

Well, turns out I didn't have time to make it out to visit any more Hogueras today! Boxes, boxes and more boxes! Good thing I still have the "Official" Hoguera in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (in front of City Hall) to share with you guys! ;o)

We approached the Plaza from the harbour side yesterday, and my mouth dropped open as I saw this filling the view through one of the archways:

This year's Hoguera Oficial is amazing!

I love the structure, the details... I think it's much better than the past couple of years, and it's definitely my favourite among the few I've seen this year! :o)

Let's take a step back,

and then take a step forward and just look at it, up and down that wooden palm tree (the structure is 100% wood).

Isn't that remate (the top part of an hoguera) amazing?! I can only imagine what it will look like when it bursts into flames...

The artistry of the Hogueras isn't just in what we see, the sculptures etc., it's also in how it burns (tonight!) and in the poetry and significance of the words that help convey the artist's meaning (or political/social barbs). The title of this Hoguera is "La Tierra Prometida" = "The Promised Land", and sprinkled throughout the monument were little acrostic poems about the city and its fiestas.

A kra Leuka, Lucentum, Alicante. (the original names of the city from the Greeks, Romans and Arabs)
L- the promised land for those who live in you,
I magined, dreamed by those that desire you,
C - obtained by the fortunate who have planted their roots here.
A licante on an ancient sea, under the shade of the Benacantil (mount on which sits the castle).
N ever, no matter how far I may be, will I forget I am from this land;
T - I suffer when I'm away, cry of joy and love when I return to you.
E - in death, mother Alicante, I imagine myself flying over your eternal blue.

Let's peek in at some of the details, shall we? I particularly loved the face in this flame making its way up to the canopy of the palm tree (and all those little flames dripping from the palm leaves!):

This mother and child are at the beach...

While this family is all ready to set out on the romería de Santa Faz! (a religiously motivated walk to a local hermitage where a relic, that is said to be one of the folds of the Veronica's veil, is kept)

There is a city and a fiesta where everyone fits, listen to the foguerer's message dear immigrant friend: let's globalise the tradition, Hogueras with a new atmosphere, an Alicante fiesta but open to your interests. You're invited to dream, to participate with us, receive a hug of gunpowder and fire, of music and colours. Alicante is now your home and we your brothers always the same in life, the same in the fiesta.

This face is the symbol for the relic -shroud- of Santa Faz (literally "holy face")

This one's in Valenciano (Obertes = Open):

Observe how the fiesta likes that you participate. You know, foreign friend, that the foguerers appreciate you even though you don't speak the language, nor does it matter the colour of your skin. Receive the fire's hug, that of the gunpowder and the music. We've got a world of fiesta for you to discover, you're in the best of hands, don't be embarrassed and join us, you'll always be an equal in this most beautiful of fiestas.

My dad particularly liked this lady here:

We think she's the Universe (or at least our solar system!), holding up our planets...

There's also an official Hoguera Infantil for the kids. Not as impressive but still cute!

And we also saw these guys hanging out in front of City Hall:

The Gigantes y Cabezudos! I've written about them before. They go out every day during Hogueras, just before and after the mascletà, parading and twirling and dancing. Lots of fun! Here are several of their porters practising a dance:

Voilà! Tonight at midnight a giant palm tree firework will be shot from the Castle. As it dies down the Bellea will light the fuse that will ignite the fireworks installed inside this magnificent creation, and it will all go up in flames! Throughout the night the hundreds of Hogueras that are spread around the city will be lit up in turn (the timing depends on when the firemen can get to each one, they start out at the biggies, the "special" category hogueras), and tomorrow morning the only reminder of these works of art will be scorch marks on the pavement where they stood... and one lonely ninot indultat, one figure that was selected by the population to be spared from the flames and will join those which survived the previous years and now rest in the Hogueras Museum.

I'll probably stay home and watch it on TV this year... not very exciting I know. But that way I can see the burning of the official hoguera (it's pretty much impossible to see it live, very few access points). Plus it's not much fun going out alone (my friends aren't available)! I did it last year and got plenty of images and video footage (managed to see 3 different Hogueras burning!), but as the summer went by I couldn't find the time to edit it all and share it here! So I guess that will be my blogging goal for the next couple of days, to work on last year's footage! :p

If you haven't already I suggest you check out the images and footage I took 2 years ago (here) when my sister and I went out (and got soaked!) with some friends of hers from the U.K. Needless to say they were in shock but had a wonderful evening! ;o)

Edit 1 A.M.: the show on TV was great! massive palm tree firework to start things off and then the explosions going off within the Hoguera that lit it all up! Flames were coming out of the branches of the palm leaves at the top... it burnt beautifully! :o)


  1. Wow! What a party! I'm so glad you stopped by so I could meet you and see the Hoguera through your eyes. Pretty exciting stuff!

  2. I'm glad you returned the visit! If you want to see something truly explosive, be sure to check out the two Hogueras posts titled Mascletà... that's something quite unique to these provinces of Alicante and Valencia! ;o)

  3. Hi Cris,
    Thanks for this wonderful post and photos.

  4. I've been giving out Irresistably Sweet Blog Awards at Pop Classics, and gave you one! :)

  5. That second picture looks simultaneously gaudy and gorgeous.

  6. Wow! But I'm so confused. Second photo looks like Jesus is upset there's a chandelier about to land on his head. Not that I blame him.


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