The deep voice of that magnificent writer from the north coast, called Francisco de Ramón y Ballesteros, resounded that afternoon, the day before Saint John’s Day 1975, in the magnificent auditorium of the Teaching Institute, paid for at the end of the century XIX by that patron from A Coruña called Eusebio Da Guarda, to say that all those who were observers of the San Juan tradition, were preparing to celebrate the arrival of the summer solstice with a ceremonial dressed in poetry, enchantment, mystery and ingenuity, since in the The depths of their souls continued to tolerate the beliefs of good and bad fadas, goblins, ghosts and mouros. That was precisely what the San Juan Bonfires Commission was doing that afternoon of June 23, offering La Coruña, rejuvenated, the foundations of the old plot of the Night of San Juan. < / span>
Minutes earlier, the Chief Prosecutor of the Territorial Court of La Coruña, Eduardo Mozón de Aragón had proclaimed to the Sixth Major Friend of the Bonfires of San Juan, María Teresa García Vila, a charming young woman of sixteen years of age who accompanied by her Meigas de Honor, Beatriz Valladares, María José Arrojo, María José Gromaz, Marisa López Pérez, Julia Seoane, Helena Villarquide, Mónica Míguez, Mar Rodríguez, Nieves Fernández and Cristina González, who were escorted by soldiers dressed in uniforms of the Cuadrilleros de the Holy Brotherhood of the XV century, had entered the room under the watchful eye of more than a hundred people who filled the precious frame and the Meiga Mayor Infantil Marta Cordonié, accompanied by their Meigas de Honor Infantiles who occupied one of the first rows . Later, the president of the Bonfires of San Juan, José Eugenio Fernández Barallobre, imposed on the president of the Provincial Delegation of La Coruña, Lino Rodríguez Madero, the silver thistle of the Bonfires, the highest distinction of the organization.
Between the sound of bagpipes, classical music, Teresa, who wore a beautiful black dress, in the words of the president of the Provincial Council,” to make the dark night beautiful “, took her place of preference to receive tribute of flowers, poems and many applauses that surrendered to the beauty and youth of the eleven girls from A Coruña proclaimed as Friends of the Night of Saint John from A Coruña.
One more year on the calendar the festivities of the Bonfires of San Juan appeared and again the Promoting Commission opted for the theater in A Coruña, including, during several days of its program, the performance of various theatrical groups.
The Cristo Rey Basketball School, was proclaimed winner of the San Juan trophy for points in the Sports Week of the Bonfires, which was a complete success, with a brilliant closure and which gathered on the sports courts of Riazor, for two weeks, more than four hundred students from various public and private schools in the city. Again, horror cinema had its place in the San Juan program with the exhibition in the assembly hall of the Provincial Headquarters of the Movement of the films “The legend of the mansion of hell”, “Dracula prince of darkness”, “The Dr. Jekyll and the werewolf “,” The Other “and” Panic in the Trans-Siberian “.
The Meiga Mayor Infantil, Marta Laredo was proclaimed along with her Meigas de honor Infantiles, Isabel García Vila, Maike Bonet Fernández, Marisa Bonet Fernández, Esmeralda Laredo Cordonié, Eva García Cordonié and Ana Navarro, during a party celebrated in the auditorium of the Colegio de la Compañía de María. Marta Laredo herself, accompanied by members of the Organizing Commission, would visit the children taken in at the Casa Cuna to whom she would distribute toy numbers.
One of the most ambitious assemblies in the entire history of bonfires was the one carried out that year, to commemorate what happened on April 26, 1520, when the Emperor Carlos I, gathered Cortes in our city in order to achieve funds to proclaim himself Emperor of the Holy Roman-Germanic Empire. The old church of San Francisco was a silent witness to that historic day for Spain and for the city of La Coruña.
In the sixties by municipal and fine arts provision, the primitive Church, located next to the Venerable Third Order and the Artillery Headquarters, today the Military Museum, began to be transferred stone by stone to the place of Los Bridges, in the fourth district and a stone’s throw from Fernando Macías street, the place where in 1962 the Hogueras de San Juan were born.
In January 1975, in one of those unforgettable meetings held in the Hyltom cafeteria, the president of the Bonfires presented to the board a project to stage the Courts of 1520 in the Church of San Francisco. The work was arduous and difficult. Extensive information was gathered on how those historic sessions had developed at the Simancas National Archive. The Provincial Council of La Coruña, chaired by Lino Rodríguez Madero, decided to support the project as a sponsor, since the staging of the historical page required costumes, lighting and decorations. p>
The remembered Pepe Redondo, who at that time was leading the theater group Tespis, ran with the stage direction. The historical coordination was carried out by another magnificent collaborator from those early years of the Hogueras commission, the director of the historical archive of the kingdom of Galicia, Antonio Gil Merino.
The Church adapted to the environment surrounding the celebration of those courts. Castilian chairs, lances, maces and in the background the sober altar presided over by an image of San Francisco. For the occasion, two huge banners were made with the barracks of the imperial shield of Carlos I.
Carlos Beceiro, the remembered announcer of Radio Youth, was in charge, with that unmistakable voice, of presenting the evening, running the explanation of the process of constitution of those A Coruña courts in charge of the eminent archivist Antonio Gil Merino. The nominal entry of all the attorneys, the arrival of the King, the opening of the sessions and the speeches of several of them were dramatically staged by the different actors. Around a hundred extras took part in the staging to give life to King Carlos I, his procurators, soldiers, heralds and pages.
The Madrid tailor Izquierdo sent an excellent wardrobe for the occasion. An extraordinary illumination of the Church and the appropriate musical background with Spanish Renaissance cantatas, seemed for a moment to move us back in time, especially with the formidable staging of the arrival of the King, victor of the French, Turks and Protestants. Amongst pikes and torches with the double eagles on their banners, they thrilled hundreds of people from A Coruña who filled, that night of June 22, 1975, the Church of San Francisco. p >
The presence of the President of the Provincial Council, Lino Rodríguez Madero, accompanied by his Vice President, José Luis Mariño Cea, the beloved” Chicho Balilla “and also those appreciated and loved. Pepe Peña and Juan José Laredo, councilors of the Hon. City Hall, enhanced the act, adorned more if possible, with the beauty of Teresa García Vila, sixth Major Meiga, accompanied by all her Meigas of honor, who also did not want to miss that genuine theatrical representation.
Returning their eyes back to that night of June 23, once the Coven Festival was over, the commission offered a wine of honor to the Meigas, authorities and guests, which was held in the courtyard of the Da Guarda Schools . There the Major Meiga, Teresa, slightly blushing, but with a wide smile, asked the guests for their financial collaboration because the budget had fallen short. To the sound of the bagpipes the Meigas de Honor, the children and the members of the commission marked a full-fledged doll.
At about a quarter past eleven, the San Juan 75 parade began, which, one more year, led to crowded squares in Calvo Sotelo and Portugal. From the stairs of the school of the Company of Mary, Teresa tried to light the wick of the firecracker that was going to light the bonfire of that year but that curiously burned backwards because the bonfire burned first than the firecracker that should light it. The elevation of the traditional balloon and a magnificent fire session burned by the Rocha de Soñeiro fireworks, which dyed the clean and starry sky of A Coruña with colored lights, closed an ancient event, an enigmatic night, that of San Juan, with memories asleep from the past.
While on the esplanade of Riazor. Where the fairground was installed, there was a lively festival that lasted until late at night. Teresa had extended her sovereign presence as a “good and happy” Meiga, in a crucial year that would be indelibly marked forever in the history of our Spain.
Calin Fernández Barallobre