Museum “Hogueras de San Juan”

Hi everybody!!!!

We are here again to show you one of the last places we went to… the Museum of  Las Hogueras de Alicante (the equivalent of the Museu de Fogueres en Valencià). It is located on La Rambla one of the main streets in Alicante city centre. This museum is one you MUST include in your list, as this museum shows you the living, amazing and spectacular “Fiesta” that the Alicantinos make for themselves and visitors during the month of June. First of all we will show you where it is in the usual map.

hogueras

As you guys can see, the museum is on La Rambla, really close to the Avenue Alfonso el Sabio and Mercado Central, one of the sites we visited a few weeks ago.

The museum has a total of five rooms, each with a different theme. The entrance is free for everybody and once inside you can get a brochure for more information. Every room shows a different period.

After the entry we find the first period (1928-1936) with beautiful cardboard and wood figures exhibited from these years. Away from the figures there are many photos and descriptions about the thematic of the figures and of course photos of the “Alicantinos dresses.” Women still wear these kinds of dresses during the festivity in June.

The second period (1940-1979) features pictures and more figures exhibited in two rooms. In the first room we see the evolution of the festivity from 1940 until 1960 and in the other room the evolution of the festivity from 1961 until 1979.

The historic room is next and contains the oldest fallas that have been inducted into the museum. These are all very different than the other more modern fallas and it is interesting to see the differences.

Last but not least we have the descriptive room and the audiovisual room. In the descriptive one we can see the most recently inducted Ninots, and in the audiovisual one we can see some documentaries about this festivity.

The figures (Ninots) are just amazing and colorful. People are always amazed when they see even these simple elements without imagining how beautiful the figures are in June when they are outside under the sunshine with people around and even when they get burnt.

Anyway here are some of the pics we took with the figures inside!

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What do you think? They are huge! Just imagine the ones they put outside for the hogueras in June… they are even bigger!!!

Now that we have peaked your interest, here are the times for the museum, including the seasonal changes.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

The summer hours are:

From June 15th to September 15th: Mornings: 10-14h Evenings: 18-21h

The winter hours are:

From September 16th to June 14th: Mornings 10-14h and Evenings: 17-20h

Sundays and holidays only open mornings from 10-14h

Now we are going to give you a little bit of info about the Hogueras de San Juan.

Why do the Alicantinos do this? Well, they celebrate the arrival of the summer solstice with this Hogueras. The fire is a crucial element for Alicantinos and that’s why they burn the hogueras (Cremà) after five days exhibited. This tradition started in 1928 and due to the popularity it had at that time, they kept doing it year after year.

The festivity is held in June exactly from the 20th to the 24th of June. The 19th they start planting the ninots first (smaller figures), and the next day on the 20th they plant the Hogueras (bigger figures).

They also  plant the “Barracas.” There is one barraca in each Hoguera or neighborhood, which is the place where many neighbors and members of the Hoguera have their meals and parties each night during the festivity period. From then on the party starts in Alicante with nearly 200 monuments characterized by their color, humor and creativity.

Every day people can see the beautiful Alicantinas in traditional dresses that the “Bellezas del Foc” wear. It is a regional costume all women dress in. They also get soaked at the last day of the festivity on the 24th with the traditional “Banyà.”

On the 21st (the longest night of the year) people go to the beach and make their own little fire and burnt things they think belong to their past, and say that they start a new year! They jump on the fire and think everything will go well from then on. People can also see and hear the famous “Mascletàs” (pyrotechnic sound show) that take place everyday at 2 pm at Luceros Square, and also listen to the music bands there are during the day at this square and free food and drinks. It’s a unique atmosphere, and unique experience. In addition to all that, music bands wander every quarter of the city with their “Despertàs” (awakening calls) really early in the mornings and their beautiful parades can also be enjoyed.

At this festival people eat the traditional “Coca amb tonyina” (pine nut, tuna and onion pie). At the end of this festival on the 24th of June the hogueras get burnt and the firemen come and start soaking everybody with their long firehoses… and people are just happy for being at this moment: the cremà.

Remember the second part of June, you should be here. Be Alicantino and enjoy this amazing event!

Analysis

Well, this museum is an example to take into account when we talk about good management of a place. As one of us mentioned before when we went in there was nobody to talk to and to ask whether we could go in or not, whether we should pay or not. Obviously museums’ main objective is to educate people, but as the chapter of museums said a museum should be also well managed, having the right staff to look after people, to accompany people when it is necessary. And above all museums should be able to adapt to people, to visitors from other countries with other languages. It would be a way of enculturation for people, to help them to learn something new even when they go to a museum. For example when children who go to this museum see the figures and if the text below would be in Spanish and also in English, this little thing would make them read something in two different languages, making them interested in learning another language and not only be satisfied with their own language. Apart from that we should realize these figures are cultural heritage for people from Alicante and between cooperation this kind of museums should be more promoted and highlight the huge sociocultural values there are inside them, as there are cultural and symbolic values like ideas that Alicantinos still have, dresses they still were, habits they still practice and so on. All this tangible heritage should be better managed and people will start to come to these local museums.

Thoughts

It was my first time in this museum. The figures were amazing and I felt those figures were like the figures of Fallas. I like the big figures of a man and a lady which was in the entrance of the museum. The museum is in the city center so anyone can reach there without any hesitation. -Ayushma

I really like that most of the museums in Alicante are free of charge. That gives you the chance and possibility to go and enjoy different type of cultural places even if you are suffering any financial difficulties. It was very interesting place to visit because you can follow the history from the 80`s till now and see photos from the first Hogeras that took place in Alicante. I am really exited that I am going to spend the summer in Alicante and see this amazing festival in June. – Siyana

I must say there weren’t many people inside… not many visitors at all, which was a pity because I really think this museum is worth it visiting. I think the City Hall should do something to improve the promoting of this site and also get more helpful people working there as when we came in there was nobody at the entrance… I mean nobody at all at the reception, luckily we read the entrance was free in the window but nothing else. From my point of view the museum would be more interesting if there were some guided tours inside and they made the visit more dynamic and more enjoyable for visitors. -Julieta

The museum was delightful to walk through, but I have to say without Julieta there to explain everything, I would have had absolutely no idea what I was looking at, which is a pity. The Hogueras festival is incredibly rich in heritage, but the lack of any interpretation for it has made it incredibly hard to share. -Rebecca

Hope you guys have enjoyed reading this post the same we did writing it!! 🙂

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