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THE BONFIRES-74

THE BONFIRES-74

The arrival at the mayoralty of La Coruña, in February of that year, of Jaime Hervada Fernández Spain, would be providential for the future of the San Juan Bonfire Commission. Hervada would be, along with the Captain General of Galicia, Carlos Fernández Vallespín and the Civil Governor, Miguel Vaquer Salort, one of the main supporters of the Bonfires, to whom they would give great support, very necessary, in those initial moments, for the young woman. and dreamy commission of the Bonfires that was in economic difficulties and difficulties. The presence of the first mayor, in relevant acts of the San Juan program such as the first Festa da Danza das Meigas or the Feast of the Poetic Coven, made this clear.

In addition to providing the organization with more crematistic means, the Mayor of A Coruña took the President of the Bonfires, Eugenio Fernández, as a collaborator to the Municipal Commission of Festivals, supporting, with that gesture, the extraordinary organizational and festive work of the Commission of the Bonfires of San Juan de Fernando Macías.

That night of June 23, Jaime Hervada, accompanied the Civil Governor and Provincial Head of the Movement, Miguel Vaquer, to preside over the Poetic Coven Festival, an elegant party, held like the previous ones in the auditorium of the Eusebio Da Guarda Institute. Malules Herrero Casasola was going to be proclaimed as V Meiga Mayor de las Hogueras de San Juan who would be accompanied by her Meigas de Honor, Susana Wonembuger, Mercedes Fernández, Ana Astray, Loreto Rivera, Malena Bodelón, Angélica Dopico, María José García Pubull and María del Carmen López. Once again, the Institute’s auditorium, with its ceilings decorated by that great painter from A Coruña, Pablo Picasso’s teacher, who was called Román Navarro, looked splendid. At the beginning of the act, the president of the Bonfires, who presented the party, had a few words of remembrance and affection for the honorary president of the Commission, Lieutenant General Carlos Fernández Vallespín, who had abandoned his post as Captain General of Galicia to occupy Madrid the position of Chief of the High General Staff of the Army. Immediately after, the entourage of the Meigas was formed, which was opened by the University Tuna of La Coruña, followed by the Greater Meiga, who was given the arm by the maintainer and town crier, the lawyer from A Coruña, José Luis López Mosteiro,

The civil Governor and the outgoing Meiga Mayor, Victoria Martínez, imposed on Malules the accreditation band in the colors of the National Flag. For its part, the Greater Meiga, accompanied by the president of the Bonfires of San Juan, imposed the Cardo de plata, the highest distinction, at that time, of the Bonfires of San Juan de La Coruña. Later, the Greater Meiga would deliver the silver thistles of the poetry contest to the winners, Messrs. Quintas Canella and Gallego Vila, for their poems “the nine waves” and “Ancestral Light of San Juan”. A brilliant exhibition on the Night of San Juan and its customs, by the prestigious A Coruña lawyer José Luis López Mosteiro, who acted as maintainer, put an end to this remarkable and refined party.

Previously, with the arrival of the carnival, the Bonfire Commission had programmed a children’s party and a costume dinner at the Hotel Riazor with the sole purpose of presenting family and friends to the V Meiga Mayor of the Bonfires of San Juan, Lourdes Herrero Casasola and the III Meiga Mayor Infantil Cristina Seoane Rodríguez. That dinner, which was chaired by the Captain General of Galicia, Civil Governor, Mayor of the City and Military Governor of the plaza and Provincial Tourism delegate, accompanied by their respective wives, represented for the Commission promoting the Bonfires the necessary endorsement to its activities and its total consolidation in the social and festive fabric of the city.

From a bonfire born in a neighborhood, that already with distinctive signs – such as the elevation of a balloon, firecrackers and fireworks – over others in the area, it became, with the increasingly crowded night of San Juan de las Calvo Sotelo and Portugal squares, a benchmark in festive events in La Coruña. From that moment the Bonfires became of age and dignity.

In the toast that put a finishing touch to such a momentous act, the Captain General of Galicia, Fernández Vallespin thanked the President of the Bonfires, Eugenio Fernández, for his work and said that “do not let your spirits drop to achieve, each year better , celebrations of San Juan, because the work of the Commission is a way like another to serve Spain ”.

True to their appointment in June, the Bonfires of San Juan designed again an attractive program of activities where they highlighted the IV Festival of the Song of San Juan that celebrated its grand finale in the auditorium of the Liceo La Paz school. The Sports Week, in whose days more than five hundred athletes met, that year became exclusively dedicated to women’s sports and had a brilliant closing with the performance of several schools made a showy gymnastics table. The II Week of cinema with the projection of the films “The Exterminating Angel”, “the dance of the vampires” “Il Demonio” and “Las Brujas” which was followed by many spectators.

A magnificent concert by the municipal music band that took place in the gardens of the Riazor roundabout. A nice children’s party in the Calvo Sotelo square, with a mini-car circuit included for the little ones, were other events of the festive program.

The act of proclamation of the III Meiga Mayor Infantil took place, once again, in the assembly hall of Colegio Compañía de María, where the Meiga of the previous year Susana Blanco Cortés accompanied by the president of the Commission, Eugenio Fernández, imposed on Cristina the accrediting band of III Meiga Mayor Infantil. The ballet of the Colegio de la Compañía de María and the Guignol theater completed the friendly act of proclamation.

A few days of conferences held in the assembly hall of the Information and Tourism Delegation, located in the Cantón Grande, which was attended by a large number of people and attended by the associate professor of the Department of Public Finance at the University of Santiago de Compostela, at that time a collaborator in organizational tasks of the Bonfire Commission, Alfredo Iglesias, who spoke of the oil crisis and the Rev. Manuel Ameijeiras who spoke about “the spiritual meaning of death.” A poetic recital by Coruñés vate Alfonso Gallego and another conference, this one dedicated to Superstition and witchcraft, by the eminent professor of Prehistory at the University of Compostela and a great friend of the organization, Carlos Alonso del Real, completed the cycle.

A representation of the board of the organization with its president in charge, went to the office of the honorary president of the Bonfires, Lieutenant General Carlos Fernández Vallespín, to deliver a silver notary, on the occasion of the new fate of the Captain General of Galicia who was leaving La Coruña to take over the command of the High General Staff of the Spanish Army. In the afternoon of that day, the Meiga Mayor and the president of the Bonfires, Eugenio Fernández, would go to the gardens of the Capitanía palace to receive the farewell reception of such a high military position.

One more year on the esplanade of Riazor a crowded recital of fair attractions was opened. On the Riazor sports court, a dance festival was held at night, in charge of the dances of the Women’s Section and of the Colegio de las Madres Josefinas. The Holy pioneer was honored with a Mass offering that was celebrated in the chapel of the Company of Mary.

That night of San Juan, it was gone through water, raining at times with unusual force, but despite this the lively and young commission did not suspend any of the planned events and once the Spanish wine was finished, in honor of the meigas, authorities and assistants to the poetic coven party, held in the sports courtyard of the Eusebio Da Guarda institute, began the cavalcade of San Juan, which walked the Meigas, climbed in typical country cars, through different streets of the city, accompanied by the horns and drums band of the Spanish Youth Organization, soldiers uniformed in the old fashion of the Spanish army, the tuna from A Coruña and various folk groups.

The arrival of the Meigas, who came soaked to the bone, to the Calvo Sotelo square, was tremendously received by the applause of thousands of people from A Coruña, undaunted by the falling water, they crowded the square and its surrounding streets, as well as the fairground where the musical group USA performed.

At twelve o’clock at night, the traditional balloon, a characteristic symbol of the Fernando Macías Bonfire Commission, rose without difficulty towards the sky of A Coruña. Subsequently, the Greater Meiga, Malules Herrero Casasola, from the stairs of the school of the Compañía de María, consummated the ancient rite and set fire to the firecracker that lit the great bonfire. A spectacular fireworks session that, with its lights, around the enigmatic elf of the flames, crowned with rite, mystery and beauty such a singular bonfire night in 1974.

Calín Fernández Barallobre.

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