On May 27, 1998, at eight thirty in the afternoon, the XXVIII Poetic Coven Festival took place at the Rosalía de Castro Theater, with the acts of proclamation by Isabel Iglesias Herrero as XXIX Meiga Mayor de las Hogueras de San Juan from La Coruña, in an act that opened the ballet Armonía to give way later to the performance of the Betanzos Music Band.
After a short break, the stage opened to spectators, who in large numbers occupied almost the entire capacity of the theater. In it, splendidly decorated among flowers and flags, three confectioners stood out with the shields of Spain, Galicia and Corunna and two more, one with the emblem of the Silver Thistle of the San Juan Bonfire Promotion Commission and another with its logo , which had already powerfully attracted attention last year, when they were released on the occasion of the XXVII Poetic Coven Festival.
To the chords of the El Abanico march, through the central hall of the theater, by the arm of directors and members of the jury of the San Juan awards, the ten Meigas de Honor came onto the stage, to the applause of a large number of public who filled with his presence the Rosalía de Castro. After them, the XXIX Meiga Mayor Isabel Iglesias Herrero made an appearance.
Isabel had been chosen as the Major Meiga in the month of March when the meeting of the jury that would choose the Major Meiga of the Bonfires of San Juan 1998 took place in the culture room of the Sporting club Casino. from A Coruña: Isabel Iglesias Herrero, Diana López Cabanas, Ana Orro Ñiguez, Ana Isabel Quiroga Segade, María Boga Sánchez, Rosa Ortega Mene, Alejandra López Méndez, María del Carmen Alende Caamano, Iria Amado Grimalt and Laura Goas Casal. Later Laura Goas would leave the post of Meiga de Honor and Arantxa Roldán and María Celsa García Ortuño would join as Meigas de Honor.
The jury, chaired by the first Deputy Mayor of the Hon. City Council, Federico de la Fuente, was made up of psychologists, fashion and styling professionals, as well as prominent personalities from Coruña’s social life and representatives of the different recreational societies, commercial districts and regional houses established in the city. Miss Isabel Iglesias Herrero, who represented the Social Center of the Sagrada Familia, was elected as the XXIX Major Meiga, and Miss Diana López Cabanas, representing the Promoter Commission of the Bonfires of San Juan, was the first Meiga of Honor.
On the arm of the president of the Bonfires, José Eugenio Fernández Barallobre, and escorted by two square brackets, those bailiffs of the 17th century, dressed in the style of the time, the radiant Meiga Mayor, attracted the eyes of all those present at the time of access to stage. Once the Meigas were placed in front of their respective seats, the first Deputy Mayor of the Hon. City Council of La Coruña, Federico de la Fuente Esperante, on behalf of the Mayor, imposed on Isabel Iglesias Herrero the accrediting band with the colors of the XXIX National Meiga Mayor flag of the Bonfires of San Juan.
Then, the Meigas de Honor were proclaimed, who were imposed by their respective bands with the colors of the Galician flag, different authorities and members of the honor committee and juries of the San Juan 1998 awards.
After the proclamation of the Major Meiga, Isabel Iglesias Herrero, already sitting on her throne, and her Meigas de Honor, the reading of the poem in Castilian language entitled “Portico to Infinity”, awarded with the first prize of the Poetic Coven, original of the poet and military José Navas Ramírez-Cruzado.
After José Navas received his award, it was time to present the 1998 San Juan Awards, which the jury of the same had awarded to the following personalities and institutions: Francisco Vázquez Award for institutional work to the Foundation of the University of La Coruña; José González Dopeso Award for Social Work at the Sagrada Familia Social Center.
Lieutenant General Fernández Vallespín Award for Culture to the Agrupación Cultural Tanxedoira; María Pita Sports Award to Carlos Ballesta Edreira, former player of the Real Deportivo club; Marineda award for coruñesismo to the Eusebio Da Guarda Institute. To great applause, all the winners collected from the hands of the Meiga Mayor, Isabel Iglesias Herrero, their prizes, consisting of a silver statuette of the silver thistle, the symbol par excellence of the Promotion Commission of the Bonfires of San Juan de la Coruña.
Often the Greater Meiga imposed the gold thistle, the most important distinction granted by the Promotion Commission of the Bonfires of San Juan, to Federico de la Fuente Esperante, First Deputy Mayor of the Hon. City Council of La Coruña. Similarly, the Greater Meiga imposed the silver thistle on Augusto César Lendoiro, president of the Hon. Provincial Delegation of La Coruña and in turn president of the Real Deportivo club; Luis Cagiao Campos, Alfonso Gallego Vila and Francisco Ramos Babio.
The solemn act had as a colophon the proclamation of the Night of San Juan that was in charge of the A Coruña painter Consuelo Liñeira García, who in verse and after magnificently pointing out such a singular Coruña night, had a heartfelt memory for the Meiga Mayor and her Meigas of Honor saying:
“Perform these acts the Greater Meiga
with wit and grace, named Isabel
Queen and sorceress, fragrant carnation,
woman’s aura that radiates candor.
Her Friends of Honor, the same longings
Carmen and Anabel, Arancha and Diana
Rosa and Iría, Alejandra and Ana
With Celsa and María they share sleeplessness.
Come to the party that Bonfires proclaims;
the dove will be put in your arms in peace
bearing laurels in the shape of a beam
will erase your sorrows, your flame will shine.
Cheerful youth of our city,
burn drugs and unreason in the flames
and do it because it sprouts in the heart
the illusion that unites you in holy brotherhood.
Summoning the Saint on the longest day
calling the races from all over the planet
noble ideals have as a goal
erasing the acíbar of all the bitter ”.
The proclaimer ended her magnificent dissertation with a heartfelt memory of La Coruña:
“And at dusk the smiling sun
gently and slowly it will be hidden
behind the waters, as if submerged,
the lighthouse watching over its beautiful west.
So La Coruña mermaid stranded,
The feast of ancient legend begins.
That Saint John sends as a perch
to this Marineda by all loved ”.
Once his speech was over, the Major Meiga Isabel Iglesias Herrero gave Consuelo a memory of the 98 Bonfires, to great applause from all those present, fascinated by the opening cry in verse they had just heard.
The epilogue to the Feast of the Coven put him a floral tribute before the coat of arms of La Coruña that entered the stage to the chords of the pasodoble “Coruña”, original by the maestro Faustino Del Río. After the chords of the march “Musical Contest” of the teacher Ricardo Dorado, fifteen couples dressed in regional costume representing various entities of the city, placed bouquets of flowers, before the city’s coat of arms, to the applause of the guests.
With the interpretation of the Hymns of Galicia and Spain and the departure of honor from the Meiga Mayor and their Meigas de Honor, who descended from the stage of the theater with the arm of those who had accompanied them to their proclamation, the XXVIII Poetic Coven Festival ended.
Carlos Fernández Barallobre.