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Archive for May, 2017

Forget everything you’ve ever heard about how to celebrate the beginning of summer and imagine yourself on an endless beach lighted up by thousands of bonfires under the moonlight. Imagine how it must feel like dancing and drinking through the shortest night of the year together with good friends and completely strangers. Pure magic! What sounds like building castles in the sky is a wide-spread tradition throughout Spain’s coastline.

The Bonfire of San Juan is one of the biggest festivals in Spain and takes place in dozens of towns of the country. What most people don’t know: this celebration does not only start the summer off bright but is also the official beginning of local festivals in Spain. While the festivity of bonfires of San Juan is getting more important the closer to the sea you get, the celebrations are nowhere bigger than around Alicante which is during these days full of bonfires, fireworks, music, dancing and great food.

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source: donquijote.org

The “Hogueras de San Juan” are celebrated from the 21st to the 24th of June, reaching its peak on the 23rd of June, the day before the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist. While Christians honor Saint John the Baptist during this festival, many others believe in the protection against evil spirits and witches through the bonfires. Having its origin hundreds of years ago, the celebrations were formally constituted in 1928 and are nowadays Alicante’s biggest festival.

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source: Magek Spa

Although, Hogueras de San Juan is not starting before the 21st of June, preparations for the awe-inspiring bonfires begin on the 19th of June to ensure the greatest festival of the year. The days from the 21st to the 24th of June are packed with events: every morning at 8 AM, the streets are full of noise and clamoring, continuing with incredible loud firecrackers at 2 PM and bullfights at 7 PM. True to the slogan “sleep when you’re dead”, party animals celebrate every night from 11 PM to 6 AM in the morning. Outstanding parades (Street Band Parade on the 21st and International Folklore Parade on the 23rd of June), dressed up women called Beauty or queen of the festival and exuberant atmosphere make the festival to one of the most amazing festivals to visit.

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source: Veoapartment

All major traditions during this festival like jumping over the bonfire three times, running into the sea at midnight and washing your face with perfumed water carry basically the same message: to be cleansed and purified for the upcoming year and to burn/wash problems away. Beside these leading customs, regional traditions such as placing three potatoes (peeled, un-peeled and half peeled) underneath the bed and hoping to pull out the un-peeled one as it means good health and prosperity, sharing hot chocolate and throwing dolls into fire are of great importance for Spaniards. Probably the most curious tradition is the so called fire walk where young men try to cross the hot coals at midnight without getting burned.

No place is more exciting and spectacular during La Fiesta de San Juan than Alicante. Reserve your spot NOW with Across Spain and ask for our festival programs, to experience how traditional Christian, Catholic and Pagan rituals and beliefs can make up a remarkable festival!

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Have you ever wondered how it must feel like when six fighting bulls accompanied by six tamed bell oxen chase you 875 meters through narrow streets? Or have you ever wished for a party where you find special events and an absolute unique atmosphere at all times of the day and night? Stop searching for the perfect festival, because we have already found it: San Fermin in Pamplona from the 6th to the 14th of July has everything you could ever wish for!

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San Fermin Festival, (source: Eye on Spain)

When you see a rocket being launched from a city hall balcony at noon on the 6th of July and all of the sudden everybody around you wears a red scarf, you know the celebrations of San Fermín have started and will not find an end until the song “Pobre de Mi” can be heard at midnight on the 14th of July. 9 days and nights full of tradition and of course – bull running.

It all started in the third century A.D. when the young man San Fermín moved from Pamplona to Toulouse to become a bishop. After a cruel dead through torture and decapitation, parts of his relics found their way back to Pamplona in the middle ages and made him popular in the region. Since the 12th century processions in his honor are held around the old part of Pamplona. Finding its origin in religion, San Fermín is nowadays a great party for everybody.

While processions are still held nowadays, the focus of the festival is since the 14th century on bull running which evolved out of the idea to entice bulls forward by bull minders and young butchers. The tradition of Running of the Bulls starts the day during the festival and can be joined by everybody over 18 years. However, party animals who just left the club and want to end their night with bull running are strictly forbidden and must reckon high penalties. Deciding to rather watch than being part of this dangerous event does not mean you lose your face! As the streets are especially crowded during the famous Running of the Bulls, be prepared to start scrambling for a good spot at 5:30 to 6:00 AM. Book a balcony for the run to ensure yourself not only a longer sleep but also the best views of the run!

 

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Running of the Bulls, (source: El Periódico)

The hype over bull running lets us almost forget about the other amazing traditional events taking place during San Fermín. Due to competitions in different typical sports like stone lifting, wood cutting, or hay bale lifting, spectacular fireworks every night and daily parades of gigantes y cabezudos, San Fermín is the most internationally renowned festival in Spain.

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parades of gigantes y cabezudos, (source: Erasmus Republik)

Contact us NOW to reserve your booking for the most amazing Spanish festival of the year! Experience tradition at every turn and learn how Spaniards celebrate by joining them during these fantastic days!

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875 m race, (source: El Pais)

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