The festive calendar of Xàbia is extensive, but possibly the most outstanding festivals are the Bonfires of San Juan. In this article you will know everything you need about them.
Next you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with.
Les Fogueres de Sant Joan (in Valencian), are held from June 13 to 24, although a week before there are already acts such as the proclamation of the queens, the bridesmaids and the presidents of each year along with the rest of the festivities, the fifth (the girls and boys who turn 18 that year).
The festivities of San Juan in Xàbia have their origin in late 1949, when a group of young friends decided to create the first bonfires. They had a festive motivation, and seeing that many people went to Valencia to enjoy the Fallas in March, they got to work. The first Fogueres festivals as such are celebrated in 1950. The first commission had 37 members, all men, who elected Francisco Bas Pastor (el Xatet de Xirivita). The women also formed a large group and did a very important job helping in the preparation of the events.
In order to raise money for the holidays, the Commission began to celebrate in the early 1950s what was known as "Party in the Air", name of a well-known radio program of the time. Throughout the year, evenings were held at the old Espinós Cinema, in which young people took the stage to sing or act in plays. The nights of "Fiesta en el Aire" were very well received by the neighbors, who besides having fun collaborated with the town festivals. These evenings were held every year from 1950 until the late 60s.
Eleven girls formed the group of "festeras" who wore the first traditional Valencian costumes in Jávea. As María Espasa, a party girl in Fogueres' first year, explains, the rental of the complete Valencian dress cost them 20 pesetas. Among these young women, Maria Teresa Calzada Rubio was chosen as Queen of the Foguera. In addition, the youngest children also participated with the creation of the first Children's Commission in which 13 pairs of boys and girls participated. The Infant Queen of La Foguera was Gertrudis Tena Sendra.
The first Bonfires of San Juan in Jávea were held from June 18 to 24, 1950 with a varied program: games of pilota Valenciana with the best figures of the moment, bous al carrer (bulls in the street, in Spanish) that were released throughout the historic center, festivals with the local band, parades, wake-ups, floats and mascletàs, fireworks and the Foguera cremà.
That year 1950 two bonfires were planted, as today: the central one in the Placeta del Convent and the children's one in the Plaza de la Iglesia. After the success of the first year, people turned to collaborate, and in the second year new features were incorporated such as the election of queens by popular vote, l'entrà de bous (the entrance of the bulls), the parade of pardon of the ninot (doll or figure) of the Foguera, the offering of flowers to Jesús Nazareno with ascent to Calvary (for some years it has been celebrated in honor of San Juan), the parade of Raïms i bacores (grapes and figs) and what we know as the Nit dels focs (Night of the fires). In 1951 a DANSA with garlands on their heads around the fires of San Juan and roasted beans were eaten.
Since their appearance until now, the way the commissions work has undergone many changes, but it can be said that in 1984 the parties began to be organized as we know them today, with the fifths as true protagonists. The party committee that existed until that year resigned in plenary session, and so that the celebrations would not end, the city council decided to commission the task of organizing the parties: the boys and girls who were 18 years old were summoned, and therefore For the first time, a mixed commission was created whose presidents were Jaime Buigues Bisquert and Pepa Sart Cholbi.
The name "La Rebolica" was the one they chose for the Quintà (grouping of fifths) and on the ground floor of the old cooperative, current municipal library, the fifths elected Tere Andrés Cardona as Queen of the Foc and Charo Torres Espasa as Queen Xabiera. In 1985 the figure of the councilman Festival, position held by Rafael Bisquert Vidal. The peñas began to participate in the San Juan festivities, also helping in some acts of the programming, but the Peñas Association as such was formed in 1993.
The festivities of San Juan at present are formed by the fifths, the fifths, Les penyes santjoaneres and the Festival Commission of Fogueres de Sant Joan. Every year, when the bonfire is burned, the work of the fifths of the following year begins, the first act of which is carried out in December to elect the representatives of the festivities. The fifths and fifths decide by vote who will be the president, the president and the queen and the ladies who will represent them for a whole year.
In acts of other festivals, such as the festivities of Jesús Nazareno, the queens and ladies of the previous year appear dressed in the costume of Xabiera, and the newly elected ones of the year, dressed in street clothes. This is done because until the day of the proclamation the reign of the new representative does not become official. One of the most anticipated acts by the fifths is the day of the gala dinner. It is an act that takes place a few weeks before the proclamation, very close to the holidays. The fifth and fifth dress up for dinner at their accompanying family members of the Festival Committee and authorities. They are marching past couple per couple on a footbridge that is installed inside the restaurant until the departure of the queen.
The proclamation of the queen
The proclamation is the act with which the queen of the previous year finally says goodbye and gives way to the reign of the newly elected. It is celebrated in the Plaza de la Constitución and is presented to all the fifths and fifths, dressed in traditional clothing.
On the day of the proclamation, the festivities are officially inaugurated with the call of the queen from the balcony of the Town Hall. The representative invites clubs, neighbors and visitors to take to the streets and go out to have fun and participate.
At night, after a dinner in the Plaza de la Constitución where all the peñas attend, people go out to sing the Fogueres anthem through the streets of the town, with the music of the brass band. The different images of the saint are sung.
Anthem lyrics Bonfires
Like a flower esclata drunk with kisses,
It jávea for San Juan at parties breaks.
And the sky is covered, from satins and tulles,
green fields, the blue mare
And June is filled with white chimeras,
Song of Solomon aromas, garlands and bonfires.
Bulle the crowd in the square,
in the delirium is burned,
the night verbenera
while embroidering a palm tree
on the sky a housing.
Under the triumphal arches,
Murta formed and roses
orlando rich floats
They are marching in abundance
his most beautiful women.
And made light verse and chimera,
and between Jubilo it stands,
in each square a bonfire
and every street one traca.
Fogueres! celebrations that taste like honey,
pouring perfume on your muscatel
Fogueres! piropos grace and color,
flowery garlands, carnation blowout
Fogueres! rancid flashes of brilliance,
women, sighs made flower party
Fogueres! poetry of an immortal people,
who prays that he sings, devotee to San Juan ...
'Pray to San Juan !!
'Sing to San Juan !!
The days of les quintaes and les penyes
The festivities last until the day of San Juan, June 24, with parades, the offering of flowers, bous al carrer, orchestras, discs ... But if there is a day that stands out is that of You Quintaes them. The fifths go out to the streets from early in the morning to start the party. Each quintà meets in a place to have lunch and then go down together to the games and activities that are carried out with small heifers. Later they hold a parade through the streets of Jávea filling every corner of party and color with the clothing of the quintà. After a meal, each one with his quintà, the Plaza de la Constitución becomes the center of the party where the music does not stop until the early hours of the morning. Another of the highlights is the day of "Les Penyes", which meet in the Plaza de la Constitución to hold a paella contest.
The parade of floats
The peñas are also protagonists on the 23rd with a parade of floats in which each peña chooses a critic to dress up and parade to the rhythm of the music through the streets of Jávea.
La Nit dels Focs
Literally the night of the fires. It is a particularly magical night, the night of San Juan, that of June 23. It was named by the Generalitat Valenciana a festival of tourist interest due to its great tradition, its significance and the number of people who participate. Although this festival has been celebrated since the early years of Fogueres, it is in 1990 when the "Penya L'escaldà" begins to take charge of organizing the fires tonight. A total of six bonfires are lit in what were formerly the gates of the Xàbia wall. Thousands of neighbors, clubs, and visitors participate by jumping the fires with garlands of murta flowers on their heads.
The last of the Bonfires, the largest of all, is that of old junk. In it, furniture and junk that were no longer good for anything were burned, as a symbol of dispensing with the old to make way for the new. This Bonfire has also been organized since 1990 by the "Penya El Gerrot" and once in flames the fifths and fifths revolve around it while the emblematic hymn of the San Juan festivities sounds.
According to tradition, the crown of murta that is worn on the head must be burned in this bonfire, while it is thrown a wish is made. Another option is to go down to the beach and get your feet wet and in the seventh wave throw the crown hard into the sea while making a wish on the magical night of San Juan.
La Nit dels Focs continues after jumping the fires and throwing the crown with the traditional "Correfocs". The lights of the town go out completely and by the same place where the bonfires had been installed fire professionals parade launching rockets. The bravest cover their heads and faces to dance to the rhythm of the drums under the rockets. The "Correfocs" ends in the Plaza de la Constitución with a fireworks and music show that captivates and leaves both those who see it for the first time and those who are lucky enough to experience it year after year.
The Nit cream
La Nit de la Cremà (the night it burns), is celebrated on the night of June 24. This day is carried out by the parade that the fifths celebrate and in which the boys go to pick up their partner from their home. The fifths decorate the front door of their houses with an arch of flowers during all the festivities, if you walk through the streets of Jávea and see a portal decorated in this way, you will know that a fifth lives there. Once the parade is over and all the fifths have been collected by their partners, the Mass is celebrated in honor of San Juan in the Church of St. Bartholomew. A great mascletà around 14:00 p.m. in the Plaza de la Constitución.
Once the night has arrived, the cremà of the children's bonfire takes place around 23:00, to which the queen, ladies and children's court say goodbye. At midnight a pyromusical fireworks display is fired from the Plaza de la Constitución. At the end, at 01:00 in the morning, the central bonfire will burn.
Gallery of current and old images
Thanks to María Espasa for providing us with information about Fogueres' first year, and to Rafael Marí and Sonia Bas for providing old graphic material.