When the eighth centenary of the concession was celebrated in the city in 2008, by S.M. the King D. Alfonso IX of León, of the Fuero de Benavente, what is known as the Puebla Charter that gives origin to La Coruña that we know today, the Promoting Commission of the Bonfires of San Juan did not want to miss the ephemeris.
without paying a tribute of remembrance and gratitude to this monarch of so much meaning for the Coruñeses.
On that occasion, the Board of Directors, took three agreements to commemorate the date, two of them permanent and the third only applicable to the HOGUERAS-2008; On the one hand, it was agreed to assign the name of King D. Alfonso IX to the first of the “San Juan” Awards that are granted annually, specifically to the one that rewards the institutional work and on whose base the legend appears 1208 followed by the digits of the year of concession and another celebration, each year, on the morning of June 23, as an initial act of the day, a memorial tribute to the monarch before the monument that precisely in that 2008 was inaugurated in the vicinity of the Tower of Hercules.
On the other hand, with exceptional character, in the Bands of the Megas of the HOGUERAS-2008, both older and children, the legend “La Coruña 1208-2008” was emblazoned, in order to record the relevance of the date.
From that year until today, each morning of June 23, at the end of ten thirty in the morning, the Meiga Mayor, the Meiga Mayor Infantil, the Meigas de Honor, the Meigas de Honor Infantiles and the Board of Directors, accompanied of the Lady of San Juan, Guard of Honor of the Meigas, Brackets, Heralds and Heraldillos and of a Band of Music, concur at the foot of this monument to perform the act of homage.
The act, integrated within the so-called “Central Acts”, was classified as 1st category in the organizational structure of the HOGUERAS, classification that shares with the most prominent acts of the program, reason why your organization has always deserved and deserves a special attention and care
It is a simple but very colorful act given the color they bring, not only the presence of the Meigas, but also that of the Honor Guard, with all of its members, who are responsible for guarding the monument, forming a long corridor that marks his accesses.
The structure of this homage is simple, it begins by reading, by a member of the Board of Directors, the text of the Royal Certificate by which La Coruña is granted the Fuero de Benavente, which means, in practice, granting it the quality of realenga or what is the same as the city “is of those of the King”, what supposes for its inhabitants a series of privileges of which the King is its main defender; later, to the chords of a pasodoble, performed by the Music Band participating in the event, the Meiga de Honor, the Children’s Honor Megas and the Lady of San Juan make a wreath at the foot of the monument and then the Meiga Mayor and the Children’s Meiga Mayor deposit a laurel wreath that symbolically evokes the immortal memory of this King. The tribute concludes with the interpretation of the Anthems of Galicia and National that put their finishing touch.
The Royal Certificate or privilege granted by King D. Alfonso IX reads as follows: “It is clearly established by this letter that I, Alfonso, by the Grace of God King of León, give as finality to the Council of La Coruña a territory of two leagues I give to the same Council pastures and water, and firewood and wood throughout my Kingdom, I grant to the same Council the Law of Benavente, and I command that it not receive in its Villa for neighbors men of arms or monks, except monks of Sobrado, those who enjoy the aforementioned forum in the houses they had there, in the village, like the rest of the Council’s men, and anyone who did anything harmful or contrary to that Council, whether he was a man of arms or Anyone else will incur my wrath and will have to pay twice as much as I extorted and will pay me a thousand maravedis, and I will send the men-at-arms and all the other people that this letter will see to protect and defend the men of said Council 1 d June of 1208. ”
It is, therefore, a simple act, full of meaning, which allows the Meigas to know a very important page in the history of La Coruña and which, unfortunately for many, goes unnoticed or is totally unknown.
The Promoting Commission of the Bonfires of San Juan, throughout its more than fifty years of history, has tried to recover or collaborate in the recovery of traditions not only in the context of the feast of San Juan, but those other inveterate in the city as is the case of the commemoration of the concession of the Puebla Charter that June 1, 1208, granting a series of privileges to its inhabitants, which has contributed so much to the development of La Coruña as a city.
Starting in 2015, after taking over the management of the HOGUERAS program, the Association of Meigas de las Hogueras de San Juan, has maintained this act as the beginning of the day of June 23, preserving its structure and solemnity.
José Eugenio Fernández Barallobre.