Authorities, representations, representatives of the Association of Meigas de las Hogueras de San Juan, Meiga Mayor, Director and Members of the Poetic Coven Party, Carmen and Corals ballet, members and collaborators of the Organizing Commission.

Ms. and Mr.

Miñas donas e meus Sres .:

Fire is a gift from the gods. A wonderful gift that Prometheus stole from the gods to give to men. Prometheus, a man of many flats, ascended Olympus, stole the fire from Helios’ chariot and gave it to men. Fire was always present in the hearts of Galicians, and here, in Coruña, it is a famous and heroic party. The lareiras of the village houses are melancholic memory, the magical stories told to the love of the fire, the peasant families that built Galicia from effort and deprivation. Now there are almost no lareiras left, and the fires tragically punish the beauty of the landscape. The fire is in our dreams, in our hearts. He is our redeemer from failures and ambitions.

Politics has its fires and fires, and more so now that elections will be repeated. The fires of politics are persistent, destructive, and atavistic. They are flames of sorpassos, polls and electoral polls. They are Cainite instincts that, if extreme, can destroy coexistence and violate democracy. Politicians’ hearts burn and they discuss how to achieve power. They stoke the bonfire of votes and seats with inflated promises and high-sounding words. They offer paradises and flowery gardens, heavenly edens and naps after eating. As a town crier, I recommend that you come to this beautiful city of A Coruña to light the fire of friendship, brotherhood and love. Let them come here to cultivate the flowery rosebush of fraternity because the “Bonfires of Saint John” are a celebration, union, dialogue and love. They are the passion of the dream and the dream of passion.

Man has always felt an atavistic admiration for fire, devotion to flames. The village peasant lares were an exciting sight, the pot hanging from the gramalleira, the burning embers of the lar, the crackling firewood, the smoke smelling of horse, xesta, castiro or bidueiro. Around the fire, stories were told of meigas and trasnos, of appeared and resurrected, of Santas Compañas that traveled roads and forests. Fire, in Galicia, is a sacred thing. All Galicians carry in the saddlebags of our soul, the burning rose of morriña, which is infinite fire. Eternal flame.

On one occasion Álvaro Cunqueiro and José Maria Castroviejo met for dinner and talked about apparitions and Holy Companions. Cunqueiro defended that the clothes of the apparitions were purple and Castroviejo that they were white. After much discussion they came to the conclusion that if you drank red wine the robes were purple, and if white they were albas. The pioneers from A Coruña who invented the “Bonfires of San Juan” had divine inspiration. Because A Coruña is not just any city: it is paradise. Manuel Rivas already said it, in an inspired version: “É unha barca de pedra feita no obradoiro do mar”. “It is an emotional memory symbolized not a beacon.” And so it is. Coruña is beauty in itself. Coruña is the meiga city, captivating, charming, with soul. Here the gods nap on the beaches, while men and women look at each other in history. The Tower of Hercules is a light inherited from the ancients, a flash of the heroic past, a lookout and sentinel, a defense of the city, a perpetual sentinel. In other words, an inherited miracle. It is welcome and goodbye. Perhaps it was here, in A Coruña, where the Roman general Brutus felt religious fear when he saw the sun go down in the waters of the sea. And Julio César sailed all over the sea, to the Coruña Brigantium, in the port of Los Ártabros.

In Galicia the meigas were always legend. Here in A Coruña, now, they are beautiful girls who, presided over by the Meiga Mayor, in the Poetic Coven, leave roses and carnations where they step. They are love, youth and beauty. His grace is fire. Your kindness, miracle. Belén Ferreiro López, gentle Meiga Mayor 2016, collaborator of social entities, such as the Food Bank, is kindness and beauty, and so are her companions. They are youth and flame. They are Grace and youth. What a coincidence that Belén is called Ferreiro, because the ferreiros dominate iron with fire, tame it and make it fiery pink like passion.

Magical phenomenon, likewise, were the ghostly lights that leaped and leaped on the ears of the knights. Lights, fachas and lights, were repeated popular mythology that filled the memory of the Galician people of the rural environment. Lights appeared in the cemeteries, lights and gleams that came from the water basins in the churches. The lands of A Coruña were always abundant in famous spells. To San Andrés de Teixido, magical place, “vai de morto or que non foi de vivo”. The Galician girlfriends sat in the warmth of the home, knitted by the fire and played jokes and tricks. The fachas , lighted torches, announced death. The pitiful howl of the dogs blew death. While I was talking with the pharmacist of my native Mosteiro, a dog stopped and howled with accents of hell. I asked if there was serious illness in the town and the apothecary told me that yes, the barber was seriously ill and that night he died.

Fire was always used as a purifying element. The Inquisition burned heretics and disbelievers. But fire is friendship and love and warmth of home. Jesus is represented with a heart burning in his sacred chest. Romantic poets sing the flame of love, the unquenchable fire of passion that unites hearts. Love is fire as passion, an eternal bonfire that leaves hearts pregnant with love. When the poet Leiras Pulpeiro, a doctor and great poet from Mondoñedo, died, a co-religionist came one night to his grave in the cemetery to bring him great news. On the cold slab, lighting up with a candle, he whispered: “Leiriñas, chegou a República!” The dead also do politics although they do not stand for election. In this city of A Coruña, immortal and heroic, you have to tell the sea to tell the gods to continue loving this city with the emotion of love, history and miracle.

Fire is surprising and adventurous. Being the Civil Governor of Zamora, every summer the fire ravaged pine groves and wooded places along the border with Portugal. Once, the raging and widespread fire was caused by a fox with its tail escaping from the flames, spreading the fire on both sides of the border. The fox, unwittingly, exercised diplomacy and international politics.

The “Bonfires of San Juan” in A Coruña are a miracle. An echo of History, a testimony of the past, a magical reality of the present. They are a beautiful demonstration that fire unites and brings together, gives friendship and understanding. Now that politics is offering paradises, the fire of our hearts can free us from enmity, from tribal confrontation, from the pitched battle that political struggle offers. Said Fields: “I never vote for someone, I always vote against.” Also with a seafaring joke, Will Rogers wrote: “I do not belong to any organized political party. I am a democrat ”. Or what President Bush pointed out: “If you walk like a duck, you squawk like a duck and say you are a duck, you are a duck.” Politics is friend of fire, with duck and without duck. The turkey is embroidered by the Americans at Christmas and in Galicia the lacón and shellfish, which are our glories all year round. Without forgetting the roasted chestnuts, blessed glory, and the fish and meats on the spit.

Ladies and Gentlemen: on June 26 we have general elections. As a town crier, I invite you to soften partisan passion, to soften social and political differences, to iron out rough spots and to vote with love. Lincoln said that “a ballot is stronger than a rifle bullet.” May the fire of the “Bonfires of Saint John” purify our spirits and the future bring us hope and happiness. A Coruña is a paradise, a landscape of love, a sea of ​​nostalgia, where the fire of the gods lives. Let us not allow ourselves to snatch the torch of friendship and prosperity. “To live in Coruña how beautiful it is / to go partying and sleep on the floor”, says the song and is true. I, who am from Lugo, am from Coruña. I have a house in Sada, and I love this city tightly and passionately.

In Coruña is the most beautiful and prosperous Galicia. In Coruña live the Arts and Letters, industrial development and work, commerce and the vital and heroic sea. Coruña women were always courage, beauty and intelligence. They are represented, among many others, by the heroic María Pita and the inspired Emilia Pardo Bazán. This is a land of transcendent ideas and projects. There is the Tower of Hercules that tells of the glorious past and dreams of the future, as I said. The port, the golden beaches where the gods bathe, the galleries, the good food that makes you fall in love, the kindness of the people. If Coruña is not a paradise, paradise does not exist.

Because the playful and heroic vocation of the Galicians comes from ancient times. Fire appears frequently in heroic deeds and deeds. Strabon says that the Galicians “marched into combat singing songs and dancing, beating swords on shields, blowing flutes and trumpets.” With fire and vinegar, they split the quartz rocks and diverted the course of the rivers to wash them. The Roman Brutus walked victoriously along the shores of the Ocean and from them, with religious fear, saw the sun go down in the sea. Fire in Galicia is a religion. On Mount Medulio, on the banks of the Miño, the Galicians agreed to die before surrendering. They gathered in a great banquet, and some threw themselves into the fire of an immense bonfire, others drank the juice of the yew tree or killed themselves with their swords. The Tower of Hercules continues eternally guarding the sea. Galicia is the land of gods and heroes, and Coruña, facing the sea, presides over the future. This vital, ardent and playful Fiesta of the “Bonfires of San Xoán” is the miracle recovered from the ethics and love that we Galicians carry in our hearts. As Town Crier, I summon locals and strangers, Tyrians and Trojans, to come and experience this miracle. This fire that Prometheus stole from the gods.

Your fire, Coruña and Coruña, competes with the burning sun, creator of life. Long live the “Bonfires of San Xoán!” Long live A Coruña! Long live the Coruñesas and Coruñeses, the sea and the fire, and the lightning that you carry within your heart!

José Ramón Ónega.

(read on May 19, 2016 at the Rosalía de Castro Theater)

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