Take me with you Meiga, magician friend of my dreams, to the aquamarine night of the San Juan of my memories!
Let the bugles sound! Let the drums roll! We are going to proclaim, in the streets and squares, in every corner of our beautiful Marineda, that the magical night of San Juan is coming back.
Let us raise its invisible curtain together and let that penetrating aroma of roasted sardines and burned wood that envelops the city, in the evening of June 23, girdling its corners, like its eternal lover, permeate our souls on this Bonfire afternoon.
Miss 50 Meiga Mayor, Authorities and representations, Meigas de Honor, Meiga Mayor Infantil and Meigas de Honor Infantiles, ladies and gentlemen, my respectful greeting as a town crier of this Poetic Coven Party, of these HOGUERAS-2019, those of the year of the 50 Meigas in history.
In this afternoon of Coven of Good and Agarimosas Meigas, in this afternoon of Bonfires, I want my first words to be of gratitude to the President of the Association of Meigas and its Board of Directors, for having entrusted me with the pleasant and emotional task of proclaiming this Party of the Poetic Coven and, therefore, the HOGUERAS-2019, in this magical year in which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Meiga Mayor.
An anniversary that has a special meaning for me that I have spent fifty years of my life, surrounded by Meigas, to the point of being married to one of them.
Blessed night of San Juan, night of songs and love, to the illusion wide door! Take me with you Meiga, magician friend of my dreams, to the aquamarine night of the San Juan of my memories!
Dear Emma, 50 Meiga Mayor, I want you to become my confessional to speak with the stars that illuminate the eternal night of San Juan, you who are the depositary of one of the most beautiful traditions, one of those in which the genetic map of Spain, his soul. Take me by your hand, to that magical and dying universe of nostalgic evocations.
Let me speak in your ear, almost whispering, of eternal San Juan nights, in the light of the magical solstice fire; of raw dances, hand loops, around the bonfire, of dreams of an old arsonist from San Juan.
I want to immerse myself in the wonderful world of memories and recover, even as sepia postcards, those exciting first years of our long journey; those years of existential doubts and youthful hesitations, still with acne marks on our faces, in which we played at being men without being men yet.
Memories shared with those others who, in a distant 1970, began to work with the desire to recover for La Coruña the most magical and most charming festival of all those celebrated in our beloved city: the night of San Juan.
Some of them, even our I Greater Meiga, like the Infant I Greater Meiga, are no longer with us, although I am sure that, wherever they are, perhaps in the stars, they will evoke, now with me, those magical moments in those of us who gave life to a character, the Meiga Mayor, who, in the end, became the trigger capable of causing the night of San Juan in Coruña, our Noite da Queima, to reach heights never imagined.
Two names, Noche de San Juan and Meiga Mayor, which, since that already distant 1970, have been inextricably linked, forming a compact, inseparable whole, despite the fact that some have tried to separate them, maliciously, over the last four years.
In that year, on horseback from the 60s that began to be a memory, taking with him our incipient declarations of first love to the magical girl, as our face reddened and our eyes made us chiribitas, and that of the 70 in which we already guessed that our lives were going to take a radical turn, the night of San Juan in Coruña, passed practically unnoticed, having lost the splendor that it enjoyed years ago.
Some may believe that this jubilant explosion, that kind of collective catharsis, turned into a symphony in a greater fire, which the entire city lives and sings on the night of June 23, is something inherent to La Coruña and that it has always been like that. . However, whoever thinks so is totally wrong.
Some will even think that that magical postcard formed by hundreds of bonfires burning on the beaches, projecting their ghostly tongues over the Atlantic sea, bearing the luminous eye of the great Cyclops as a witness, is an old A Coruña custom that dates back many years. How far they are from reality.
By the end of the 60s, the tradition of the night of San Juan was being restricted to, less and less, urban spaces where it was allowed to burn lumens. Little by little, the great bonfires that burned throughout the city at the beginning of that decade, which were dying without indulgence, were now history and the old custom of San Juan fire was slowly becoming engulfed in the nebula of memories.
The stretching of the city, the asphalting of its streets, the administrative barriers and the lack of the necessary generational change, had caused that, between 1963 and 1969, many of the bonfires that were burned disappeared, as if by magic, until that time. moment, in different places in La Coruña.
It was then, at that precise moment, fifty years ago, when, in the midst of that bleak picture offered by the San Juan Coruñés, our story begins.
It was a spring afternoon, the season of love; an afternoon in early May of that 1970, maybe even on a day like today. One afternoon in which a part of the group of friends who, year after year, organized the Bonfire on Fernando Macías Street and its surroundings, got together to start preparing our night of San Juan that year.
In principle, everything indicated that it was going to be one more like any other. With our Bonfire, made in the traditional way, piling up wood and old junk; the first, stolen in a thousand and one construction sites, after circumventing the attentive and redoubled guard of its guards; and, the second, wrapped in thick layers of dust, extracted from the most hidden storage rooms; Along with this, our pyrotechnic offer that we have been improving for years, thanks to the increasingly generous contribution of our neighbors; the singular elevation of the paper balloon to the skies of Coruña, something intrinsic to our San Juan offer since its origins, and … little else. In short, the way we had, since 1962, of keeping alive the tradition of the Bonfires of the night of high June.
Perhaps that afternoon, we began to realize that our age was beginning to pass. With our 18 years just turned 18, we had begun to discover, some less timidly than others, that in addition to our studies; of our endless soccer games; of our pilgrimage around the block of the street, speaking of the divine and the human; from our youth camps; even beyond our luminous sanjuanera; there was something else, some girls, dressed in school uniforms who were becoming the custodians of our sleepless nights and those responsible for many sleepless nights, daydreaming about the longed-for “yes” that we so desired and that, sometimes, we did the lazy.
Tacitly, looking into each other’s eyes, that evening in May, we understood that whatever company we undertook, whatever adventure we embarked on from that moment on, would necessarily have to have them as co-stars.
So it was. Right there that afternoon, we began to plot how those little girls in school uniforms were going to join our company, which, ultimately, would cause all of us to embark on the adventure.
We knew that to attract their attention it would be necessary more than offering them a position in our raids in demand of wood and old junk; It was necessary to find another way to make their participation effective and that is how our good witch arose, as if out of nowhere, whom, that same afternoon, we baptized with the name of “Meiga Mayor”, evoking the close relationship that unites the night of San Juan, in the popular Galician imaginary, with the figure of the Meigas, especially the good ones, well, habelas hailas, and you girls are the best example.
Later, meetings and debates followed. It was necessary to give shape to the project and, of course, to name the First Meiga Mayor so that she, in turn, could name her Meigas de Honor.
After giving it several turns, we made the decision to name Estrella Pardo Castiñeiras, a sixteen-year-old from A Coruña, and I was honored to let her know, one evening at the beginning of the month of San Juan, at the door of her house on Paseo de los Bridges.
She received the appointment excited and after the pertinent parental consultations, she confirmed her acceptance and, in this way, wrote her name in gold letters as the first in the list of Meigas Coruñesas, which they have been throughout these fifty years .
As we could, with very little means and great enthusiasm, we proclaimed, on the night of June 23, those daring and audacious first Meigas, the Meiga Mayor and the Meigas de Honor of 1970, capable of embarking on an adventure that, a priori, it seemed to have an uncertain ending.
Then came everything else. After that unforgettable first Noite da Queima, full of unforeseen events and a thousand last-minute problems, which, thanks to our tenacity and audacity, we were able to overcome and whose story remains for a better occasion, new and exciting projects arose.
That summer of 1970, already concluded on the night of San Juan, the Meiga Mayor Youth Club was born which, the following year, led to the creation of the Promoting Commission of the Bonfires of San Juan, responsible, until 2015, for the organization the FIREPLACES.
They were exciting years in which, little by little, we made a hole in the social and festive life of A Coruña, thanks to the support that the civil and military authorities gave us, from the first moments, as well as the Institutions and entities of the The city and our San Juan offer were gaining in numbers by leaps and bounds, filling the Plaza de Portugal and its surroundings to bursting, to see our Bonfire burn, next to our Meigas, arriving on the night of June 23rd.
From the beginning we thought that, if we wanted the Bonfires festival to become popular, it would be necessary to infect the city with a San Juan feeling that had been lost over the years.
And thus, acts of such significance were born in our program such as this Poetic Coven Festival, the Cavalcade of San Juan, the Festa da Danza das Meigas, cultural, sports and social events, etc. A wide and varied program of events that, extending throughout part of May and the entire month of June, has always had the purpose of gradually preparing the city for the great night of San Juan.
We structured the party, setting an annual calendar that, year after year, was repeated, always revolving around the symbiosis of the night of San Juan and the figure of the Meiga Mayor, the good witch, its protagonist par excellence, in the that converge, as is your case dear Emma, all the values and traditions that the night of the great events treasures.
They were years in which we put all our skills as organizers, our imagination and our work at stake and always next to our Meigas, fundamental pieces in the historical evolution of the party, to the point of being able to ensure, without fear of being wrong, that If it had not been for them, for you, the feast of San Juan would not be how we know it and, much less, would we all meet here today in this new edition of the Poetic Coven.
Not long ago, someone, with very bad faith and total ignorance of reality, called our Meigas “vase women”. How little does he know who uttered such an unfortunate phrase in the history of the Coruña Bonfires!
From the first day, since the creation of that Youth Club Meiga Mayor, in the summer of 1970, they occupied positions of preeminence and responsibility in our association organization.
There were Presidents, Vice Presidents, General Secretaries, Treasurers, Members… They programmed each one of the editions of HOGUERAS; they acted as delegates in the different acts, representing the organization; covered table at Sports Week; They went up, floor by floor, through our streets asking for the economic collaboration of the neighbors; They came to transport wood to burn on the night of June 23; they looked for publicity for our magazine; they met with Authorities and businessmen in demand of their economic collaboration; they represented our Commission even outside the city; In short, they did everything, becoming the alma mater of the organization, and, above all, they still had time to dress in Mantilla, regional costume or party dress to preside over the most relevant acts of our program. They have little, it seems to me, of vase women.
Over the years, the figure of the Meiga Mayor was gaining the sympathy and admiration of the city and the people of A Coruña. Already in 1971, we made the decision that the young woman who was named Meiga Mayor would not necessarily have to live in our area, Fernando Macías street and surroundings, since, if we wanted the figure to become a paradigm capable of infecting the entire city, it would be necessary to transfer his appointment to any area of La Coruña.
Thus, throughout these fifty years Riazor, Ventorrillo, la Torre, Sagrada Familia, Los Mallos, Castrillón, Ciudad Vieja, Pescadería, Ensanche, Santa Lucía, Monelos, Monte Alto, Zapateira, Cuatro Caminos, etc., in In short, all the neighborhoods and areas of our beloved Marineda saw Meigas Mayores y de Honor leave their streets, which contributed to popularizing such an endearing figure.
Nor was it ever taken into account, as some malicious languages spread, the thickness or thinness of the wallets of the mothers and fathers on duty, nor their social status. There were daughters of civil servants, taxi drivers, commercial employees, banks, industrialists, soldiers, policemen, businessmen, liberal professionals, truck drivers, mechanics …
To the same extent, never, in the election of the Meiga Mayor, both when it was directly or as it is now, through a female jury, outside the organization, has it been sought to choose the stereotype of a miss; We always try to find, and we succeed, normal Coruña, young people of their time, with concerns and, above all, with the will to live a different San Juan and to become depositaries of a beautiful and millenary tradition.
Take me with you Meiga, magician friend of my dreams, to the aquamarine night of the San Juan of my memories!
Over the years, the party continued to take hold. We recover the figure of the Infant Meiga Mayor, disappeared in 1975 and recreated in 1988, designing the Poetic Solstice Festival for her. We publish works on the traditions associated with the night of high June; we established the San Juan Awards; the traditional Tribute to the Flag; the Cycle “Coruñesas Pages”; the Days of Theater, Music and Dance; the Tribute to the Coruña Woman; the A Noite da Queima Dance Contest; the offerings of June 23; the Fire Committee of San Juan; the Procession of San Juan; the Cycle “Notes and Bonfires”; etc.
Starting in 1992, we changed the scene and the Plaza de Portugal, where we had been burning our Bonfire since 1971, we moved to the Riazor beach, where at that time not a single lumed burned on the night of San Juan.
It was from that moment, when that flame of our Bonfire ignited throughout the city and, year after year, the presence on the beaches of thousands and thousands of people increased to sing, in unison, that singular symphony in greater fire, which turns our great Atlantic balcony into that magical silver mirror, where all the brilliance of the gold of the thousand fires is reflected that rekindle the dreams of the soul and heart, as our Hymn says, the “Meiga Mayor”, which we have heard ago. a few moments.
In 2009, we even started the campaign to request that June 24 be declared a holiday, not with the intention of replacing another of those that already existed, but simply serving as a speaker to a citizen demand and for this we presented in the Municipal Registry plus 20,000 signatures that endorsed this petition.
Therefore, no one can take away the merit of having been us and, since 2015, the Association of Meigas, the indisputable architects of the resurgence of San Juan Coruñés, celebrating, around the magical date of June 24, almost 5,000 events, of all kinds, in these fifty years.
Then, little by little, came the recognitions. In 2000, Galicia festival of tourist interest; in 2003, Festival of National Tourist Interest, and in 2015, Festival of International Tourist Interest, all of them requested at our request, as well as others that we receive with great pride and honor.
However, everything changed after 2015, a sad and unfortunate year for the history of our city. What happened thereafter is easy to explain, but difficult to understand.
From that moment, we were relegated to almost nothing. We did not return to FITUR to promote the party; all municipal grants were lost; they kicked us out of our night of San Juan, which, with so much effort and sacrifice, we had managed to rise to the most outstanding positions of the Spanish festive ranking; they prohibited the Cabalgata de San Juan; the passage of the Fire of San Juan procession; even that the Meigas, and there is written testimony of all this, passed through the Plaza de María Pita, as if they were plagued. But there is more, they have not even allowed us, since 2016, to burn the Bonfire on the Riazor beach, a right that all the people of A Coruña have, except the Meigas who were, precisely, who took it there.
Even to be here this afternoon, in this theater that belongs to all the people of A Coruña, the Association of Meigas has had to satisfy the City Council the not inconsiderable amount of more than 2,000 e., Giving it the same treatment as a company with the intention of profit and discriminating against it in relation to other Coruña entities. Shameful!
A vile scoundrel that has no other possible qualification and that portrays very well those who have signed, from the City Council, these prohibitions over the last four years, the darkest in the recent history of La Coruña.
But, fortunately, not everything was negative and if something allowed the Association of Meigas to keep its San Juan flame burning, it was thanks to the unwavering help that other Institutions and Entities gave them during these years, especially the Xunta de Galicia through the General Secretariat of Tourism; as well as the vast majority of the socio-cultural fabric of our city and different commercial firms, something that deserves to be highlighted.
The night of San Juan in Coruña, which, together with the Bonfires of Alicante, are the only Spanish events in San Juan that enjoy the title of festival of international tourist interest, constitutes, by itself, a value that must be permanently on the rise.
The party, duly programmed, must constitute an engine capable of causing tourist currents to reach the city that generate wealth. The diffusion of the Bonfires at a national and international level must become a priority for the new leaders who have come out of the elections in a few days. Our San Juan must be sold everywhere, something that has not been done for almost four years.
You have to get the entire city to join, for three days, in a total party atmosphere on all four sides, with first-rate shows; promoting the traditional acts that had been held tonight since 1970 and that caused entire families to approach the Paseo Marítimo to see how the Cabalgata de San Juan or the joyful and thunderous ride of that more than a hundred motorcycles that accompanied to the Fire of San Juan entourage, on their way through the streets; the graceful parades that animated the day or the great fireworks session that burned every year, having our millennial Lighthouse of Hercules as an exception witness, although I suppose that that night the seagulls are stressed, they will have time to calm that stress in successive days.
The Meiga Mayor and her Meiga de Honor have earned by tradition, by work, by sacrifice, the right to light the great Riazor Bonfire, something that they have been deprived of over the last three years and that we are sure they will recover in this 2019. All this is also historical memory.
I believe that I convey the sentiment of the Association of Meigas by asserting that any party that attends the elections of next 26, except, of course, the one that currently misgoverns the city, can count on the support of the Meigas so that our Noite da Queima recovers the splendor of other times.
Take me with you Meiga, magician friend of my dreams, to the aquamarine night of the San Juan of my memories.
There is very little left for the night of San Juan. The days will rush by quickly and the long spring sunsets will make us dream of that magical night that is already predicted to be close, almost around the corner. You have to prepare your hearts to live with intensity all the magic that the shortest night of the year contains, that of the great events.
Close your eyes and opening only those of your heart you have to be able to glimpse the great wonders that are hidden between the folds of that unequaled night. Night of mouras, of enchanted women, of ladies of San Juan, of Nereids and mermen looking out over the sea of Riazor, of mysterious incantations, of spells, of old rites in the light of the purifying fire, of Meigas, of Meigas good and agarimosas like you And make no mistake, misusing the easy saying of “meigas fora”, lest it also scare the good guys and that can be fatal.
Dear Emma; Dear Eva, Karla, Ana, Mª Luz, Alba, Mª Sol, Alexandra and Belén, you are the depositaries of a beautiful tradition born fifty years ago, which made the night of San Juan Coruña, the most magical of the year, perpetuated in the time, reached positions of honor in the context of the Spanish festivals; you are heirs to the emotional tears that slid softly down the beautiful youthful faces of the Meigas who preceded you when conjuring the magical rite of purifying fire, arriving on the night of San Juan; Heiresses of other 800, older and child, who before you occupied those chairs in which you now sit and proudly wore those Bands, with the colors of Spain and Galicia, that cross your breasts.
In you, in your hearts, beats the purest feeling of San Juan Coruñés, of its ancestral traditions. You must never forget it and this year, on the night of June 23, when you pass the streets of the city, remember it and never forget that Meiga is once, but is forever.
Dear girls, on that magical night that is coming, the most poetic of those that make up the annual cycle, run to the forests to collect the aromatic plants and flowers, the Herb Luisa, the fiuncho, the wild roses, the trobisco, the Artemis, the sabugueiro and put them to macerate in the dew and thus, in the morning of the day of the Saint, wash your face to make you even more beautiful and radiant; leave the seven thistles under your bed, without blooming, if you want to guess the name of the young man who loves you; jump, in an odd number of times, the purifying lume of San Xoán to scare away the bad meigallos and, at dawn, at the beginning of the Saint’s day, seek, in any recondite source, the flower of water, a wonderful arcanum capable of healing everyone the evils of the soul and the body, even the evils of love.
Dear Meigas, as an old arsonist from San Juan, I ask you to proclaim through all the streets and squares of the city, accompanied by drums and bugles, that San Juan is approaching; infect the entire Coruña with your illusion, your joy, your elegance, your smile, enchant it with your magic. Let the party begin and that the 2019 HOGUERAS, those of the 50 Meigas in history, are truly unforgettable.
To all, thank you very much and happy San Juan 2019.
Long live San Juan! Long live La Coruña!
José Eugenio Fernández Barallobre.