Every year in Elche, only a 15 minute drive from your holiday villa or apartment in Gran Alacant, on the night of 13th August, is the Nit de L'Alba, as it is called in Spain, and it is one of the best and noisiest fireworks displays you will ever see!
Well, as we already know, the Spanish love their fiestas and love noise! One of the best, and noisiest, celebrations is the one that the people of Elche look forward to most, as the skies of Elche are illuminated by approx 66,000 rockets and fireworks in a barrage of color and sound! From early evening, the citizens of Elche let off their own fireworks all evening, until the official display begins soon after 23.00 and continues unabated until just before midnight! At this point, all the fireworks cease and the power supply to the city centre is cut and all becomes dark and silent.
The whole of Elche remains completely silent while the haunting El Gloria, which is the most significant part of Elches Mystery Play, is played over massive loudspeakers. Then, the darkness covering Elche is suddenly lit up by an enormous white starburst firework, La Palmera de la Virgen, which is released from the Basilica de Santa Maria.
Once this amazing moment has passed, Elche's city lights are switched back on and on the tower of the Basilica de Santa Maria is an image of the Virgin in fireworks accompanied by the Aromas Ilicitanos (the most popular hymn of Elche) from loudspeakers and everyone in Elche joins in the song from the balconies, streets and roofs. It really is a spine tingling moment!
The origin of this fiesta dates back to the Middle Ages when families offered a rocket for each child to the Virgin of the Assumption to thank her for their children.
It is traditional after the fireworks to eat watermelon for good luck in the coming 12 months and some of the residents of Elche hold organised firework fights well into the small hours by taking part in the traditional Guerra de Carretillas (War of Carts) where the townspeople of Elche chase each other through the streets pushing carts made to look like dragons with fireworks spitting from their mouths. This takes place in specially designated areas in the city centre of Elche located mainly in the central squares of the Merced and La Glorieta which can appear to be scenes from hell. It is an event only recommended for only the most hardened fire lovers, as it can be dangerous! Before reaching the centre, it is traditional for these carters to ask for water from the Elche people leaning out of their balconies.
One of the best (and safest) places to witness this fantastic firework display is on the suspension bridge on Avinguda Bimil-Lenari in Elche where you can take chairs, tables and a picnic. From here you have a fantastic view down the dry river bed to the Basilica.
If you do not fancy attending personally, many of our holiday villas and apartments in Gran Alacant will have views of this fantastic night from their roofs! So why not take a few drinks and a picnic up onto your holiday villa in Gran Alacant, Alicante and watch the excitement from home?
Have a look at the photos above because this really is a fiesta not to be missed if you are renting a villa or apartment with Alicante Holiday Villas on the night of 13th August!