Alternative Bonfire Celebrations Across Europe

If you love the excitement and spectacle of Bonfire Night in the UK, remember that many destinations around Europe hold other bonfire-based events throughout the year. Here are a few of the best events from around the continent if you don’t want to wait until November to enjoy Bonfire Night.

1. Hogueras de San Juan, Spain

HOGUERAS DE SAN JUAN 2011 © by C. Fuentes

Held on June 23 each year, this event, which translates as the ‘Bonfires of Saint John’, is one of the biggest festivals in Spain, and the most important annual event in Alicante where the main celebration takes place.

Around this time of year, people create large bonfires, drink hot chocolate, let off fireworks, enjoy the spectacle of bullfights, hold all-night parties, jump the fires and celebrate in style in an event dating back to 1928.

This is Bonfire Night Spanish style, and if you are keen to get in on the celebrations then book your holiday for June next year.

2. Bastille Day, France

Bastille Day Fireworks © by irene.

On July 14 the whole of France celebrates one of the main events of the French Revolution, the storming of Bastille Prison in 1789. Although you will be able to celebrate the event anywhere in the country, the best place to go for the real party is, as always, Paris.

Make a beeline for the iconic Champs Elysees, where the biggest crowds of the night are sure to gather, and then enjoy a fantastic fireworks display as the Eiffel Tower is lit up. The fireworks rival the New Year celebrations, but you won’t have to contend with the freezing weather.

3. Las Fallas de Valencia, Spain


The Spanish seem to like their bonfires more than any others, and this event in Valencia is just about the craziest, most exciting and most unique alternative to Bonfire Night that you could imagine.

Events last for five days with the main event, ‘La Cremá’ (the burning), taking place on March 19. It began as a feast day for St Joseph, and it involves the making and blowing up of huge ‘ninots’ (puppets) made from paper mache and cardboard which depict politicians, celebrities and satirical scenarios.

These huge ninots take the entire year to build and are then moved into positions around the city by cranes. Then on the big night they are blown up with fireworks and set on fire at midnight amidst chanting crowds.

Only one is spared, which is voted for by the public, and this is taken to the museum of previous winners.

It is a noisy, smoky, crazy party which is unlike any Bonfire Night you have been to, but if you want to enjoy a fun-filled and exciting festival then this is one not to miss.

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