Monday 27th June 2022 – Mike Smith
Source: original article
The penultimate evening of the grand festivities of the Fogueres de Sant Joan de Xàbia is one of the most popular of the entire programme, a magical night of fires, a reminder of our ancestors spiritual obsession with the sun and their fear of the dark and the unknown.
This year was an extra special occasion and the historic centre was the heart of these celebrations. During the early evening, thousands had lined the main roads as the second float parade travelled through the town, the occupants filling the air with confetti and boiled sweets. As night fell, thousands more squeezed into the narrow streets for the return of a very special night. The bars and restaurants were packed; if you hadn’t booked a table in advance, there was little chance of getting a table. And the excitement built as the clock ticked towards midnight.
The sound of exploding rockets filled the air as the first act of the Nit dels Focs, a ‘Fiesta de Interés Local de la Comunidad Valencia’, approached. Whilst the crowds gathered at Portal del Clot, everyone wearing the traditional floral crowns, the procession made its way slowly along the Ronda Sur, a river of people headed by the Quintàs 2020-2021-2022 accompanied by mayor José Chulvi, fiesta councillor Kika Mata and members of the Fogueres Commission. Some carried huge wicker baskets full of roasted beans, dishing them out to bring luck to those who would jump over (or through) the flames.
The procession followed the line of the old town walls, long ago demolished, with four of the six fires placed where the grand gate houses once controlled access to the village. The drums beat out their relentless rhythm, the rockets bursting into the sky. Thousands waited their turn to leap through the flames before making their way to the pyramid of old junk – Trastos Vells – which had been built during the day by Penya El Gerrot to throw their crowns onto the pile.
As the Quintàs arrived, the noise reached a superb crescendo. Suddenly a string of firecrackers suspended above the small square burst into life and swept quickly towards the pile of junk which burst into flames. As the inferno built, more people entered the square to throw their crowns onto the fire. Fire fighters sprayed the surrounding buildings with water from their hoses before turning their attention on the Quintàs who demanded attention. They then joined hands – it didn’t matter who was who, 2020, 2021, 2022 – and danced around the flames, encouraged by the large crowd around them.
But this was only the first act. As the flames of the bonfire died, the sky was filled with white sparks as the incredible correfocs began its way around the same route as the fire-jumping before diverting into the main square where the superb finale was played out in the early hours of the morning.