The year 1995 was another of those years that acquired a special meaning in the Bonfires Promoting Commission since in it the system of election of the central character, the Meiga Mayor, was substantially modified.
When in 1970, it was decided to give life to this endearing figure, the system of direct appointment was adopted, that is, the Board of Directors appointed the Meiga Mayor and she was in charge of doing the same with the Meigas de Honor. This system remained in force until 1994, date of appointment of Victoria García Otero as XXV Meiga Mayor.
In the last stage prior to the arrival of 1994, a new system was used consisting of naming the Meiga Mayor to the Meiga of Honor that would have stood out the most from those of the previous year. This system, which was not always strictly adhered to, lasted for some years, reaching, as has been said, until 1994 to celebrate the silver anniversary of the figure of the Meiga Mayor.
At the end of that year, it was believed that the time had come to modify, in a substantial way, the system of election of our central female character.
After a long debate, which was the subject of successive meetings, all possible options were evaluated, which, of course, were not many, based on the premise that it was necessary to extend the appointment of Meiga Mayor among a larger universe of young people from Coruña. , with the assurance that, after twenty-five uninterrupted years of Meigas’s election, these figures were largely settled in the city and that their existence was publicly known to most of the people of A Coruña.
From the beginning, two possible scenarios were worked on. The first, left the door open for the selection phase to attend any A Coruña who met the established age and residence requirements, since it was considered, as a fundamental premise, that the Meiga Mayor, whoever it was, would have to be original or, at least, resident in La Coruña. As for the second, it was about opening the possibility of presenting candidates through any Coruña Society of those that operated in the city in those years.
For this reason, finally, after a reflection exercise, it was decided that the candidates from which the XXVI Meiga Mayor would be chosen would be presented by certain Coruña companies.
At this point, many may think that the selected Societies were those with the highest social, economic and intellectual level of their associates. However, once again, those who think such a thing will have been wrong, since if there is something no one can ever accuse the Commission of, it is of having been classists.
After reviewing the existing companies, an invitation was extended to most of those operating in the city that year, awaiting their response to give the project the definitive green light.
At the same time, a regulation for the election of the Meiga Mayor and some parameters by which their election would be governed were drawn up, while we began to consider the possible members of the Jury.
To avoid resentment, in the universe of more than thirty people that would make up the aforementioned Jury, the number of members of the Commission was limited to three, which represented less than 10% of the total and guaranteed the principle of equanimity.
Likewise, the system by which the Jury would be governed to choose the Meiga Mayor was designed. The idea came from the X Meiga Mayor, Begoña López Abella, a psychologist by profession, who presented the project based on a personal interview, in a very relaxed atmosphere, carried out, in a round table, by three female members of the Jury, one of them. They were members of the Board of Directors, another psychologist and the third expert in public relations and image, who would be in charge of questioning each candidate, in front of the other members of the Jury, about their aptitudes and personal attitudes, as well as issues related to history. from La Coruña; the night of San Juan; their degree of integration and satisfaction as Meiga Mayor, if elected; the way to present our city and its FIREPLACES , in the event of having to make such a presentation far from La Coruña, and so on.
The aim, as has been said, was to know, in a relaxed atmosphere, a bit of the personality of each of the little charles whose age ranged between 16 and 21 years.
That chapter closed and the members of the Jury selected from among politicians, liberal professionals, civil servants, employees, housewives and, without forgetting, a representative of each of the participating Societies who, if necessary, would have to abstain at the time of vote for the respective candidate, the response of the different invited Societies was awaited.
That year, the candidates presented represented the Sporting Club Casino, Casa de Andalucía de La Coruña, Liceo Artesanos de Monelos, Sociedad Deportiva Hípica, Social Center of the Sagrada Familia, Tennis Club and Círculo de Artesanos. For its part, the Commission for the Promotion of the Bonfires of San Juan, reserved the presentation of two candidates who, in accordance with the Election Regulations, could not be elected Meiga Mayor.
Once they were named Meigas de Honor and aspiring Meiga Mayor 1995, they were summoned before the Election Jury that, that year, was chaired by the then First Deputy Mayor, Federico de la Fuente Esperante, and held their meeting in the halls of the Tryp María Pita Hotel.
That afternoon, once the Jury was constituted, the raffle of the order of the interview was carried out and, successively, each one of the candidates, appeared before the interviewers, led by Mª Carmen Calviño Iglesias, Vice President I of the Commission, accompanied by the aforementioned Begoña López Abella and Maganje Pardo de Andrade, who asked them different questions about the topics previously mentioned and others related to their studies, hobbies, future projects, etc.
Finally, at the conclusion of the interviews, the Jury members voted, by means of the corresponding minutes, signed by each of the members, which included the rating given to each one of them.
After the vote counting, the Jury opted for the representative of the Recreational and Instructive Meeting of Artisans, the Circle of Artisans, Emma Rodríguez Veloso, who that same afternoon, in a ceremony held below, was presented as XXVI Meiga Mayor for the FIREPLACES-95.
For its part, in parallel, the Board of Directors managed, through Maganje Pardo de Andrade, sadly disappeared, near the designer Rosa Tedín the design and manufacture of the gala dresses that the Meigas would wear on the occasion of the Poetic Coven Party, that were given, by the aforementioned firm, to each of them, constituting another novelty since, until then, these costumes were paid by each of the Meigas of each edition.
The XXV Festival of the Poetic Coven, at that time the proclamation of the XXVI Meiga Mayor and its Meigas de Honor, was held on June 1, at the Rosalía Castro Theater, packed with people who witnessed the imposition of the Band, by the Mayor Francisco Vázquez, to the first Meiga Mayor chosen by a jury.
Nothing was the same since that moment. During the following years, they continued to resort to the Coruña Companies, even to the different Commercial Areas of the city, inviting them to present their candidates to Meiga Mayor, until finally the wise decision was made to open this possibility to any young Coruña who wishes to live, in a different way, the night of San Juan, a system that has survived to this day.
José Eugenio Fernández Barallobre.