Perhaps it was in one of those meetings held, in the classrooms of the Colegio de la Compañía de María, given by its Director, Madre Mª del Coro Urrutia, where the change of the traditional bonfire for another allegorical one was proposed and approved – which it does not “fail”, as we are not in Valencia-, to give our night of San Juan more eye-catching.
That proposal, which, by the way, was not supported by the purist sector of the Board of Directors that remained faithful to the San Juan tradition of burning a bonfire based on old junk and stolen wood, had to wait until 1977 to become a reality.
The HOGUERAS-77, were marked by difficulties, from their beginning to their end, by a series of serious economic problems that had been afflicting us and had had their origin in previous years, especially since 1976 in which, by a stubbornness of a Councilor We were unable to install the fairground attractions that were one of our main economic supports. We will also return to this subject in another chapter of our history.
When we began to program the 1977 fiscal year, the need to definitively promote the festival was valued and as a result of this claim an ambitious program was drawn up that included many new features in relation to the previous ones, one of them being, precisely, giving compliance with the agreement adopted years ago and definitely replace the traditional bonfire with an allegorical one.
Given the persistent lack of resources, that exercise was notably aggravated, the possibility of commissioning a professional to make our first allegorical bonfire was dispensed with, right from the beginning, beginning to probe each other, in order to find someone to do the work exclusively for the cost of the materials.
After giving the matter a lot of thought, finally, someone linked to the Commission of that year, put us in contact with a person, whose name I am going to omit since he is no longer with us, who volunteered to build our bonfire .
The project that he presented consisted of a Tower of Hercules, ten meters high, placed on a base of two and topped by a sun three meters in diameter; in total fifteen meters high, which we found striking and bulky enough for our debut in the world of allegorical bonfires.
The bonfire was completed with the figures of a demon and a witch that would be placed in some part of the set and that, however, I believe that they were never built.
Once the project was approved, the steps leading to both the location of the appropriate place for its manufacture were initiated, as well as the collection of the necessary material to make that sketch a reality by presenting it on paper.
In the absence of another place, which we cannot find, through the Consistory we obtained the transfer of a vomitorium of the, still unused, Frontón de Riazor; It was not the most appropriate place, but we would have to fix ourselves.
Once the necessary material was collected, the construction of the great tower began, which lasted for several days. The problem arose on the afternoon of June 22, when we got ready to remove the tower from the interior of that vomitorium, realizing that its creator had taken the measures and the extraction operations of the Tower wrong, for its transfer, to Calvo Sotelo They cost us God and help, although we finally made it.
However, the story of this first allegorical bonfire does not end here as it has an epilogue. Instructions had been given for the installation of the base on which the Tower was to be supported, but, for reasons beyond our control, these works were delayed in such a way that, when the great figure of our millenary lighthouse arrived at Calvo Sotelo , this was not yet installed.
This was explained to the architect of the work, indicating that the base would be installed in the following hours; However, far from understanding it, he became like a beast, beginning to scream and threaten to destroy everything. In fact, that was what he did with the great sun that he smashed into several pieces.
There was no other remedy than to stop him from destroying everything built, simply because of a whim and because of the intolerance of that individual. It was Santiago Piñeyro and my brother Calín, who avoided him, not allowing him to fulfill his promise and, in this way, he left Calvo Sotelo screaming and threatening.
It was the night of the 22nd, so there was no other option than, among all of them, to begin the work of installing the bonfire, directed by Santiago Piñeyro, which lasted for a good part of the afternoon of the 23rd when it was ready to be burned. night, before thousands of people who filled Calvo Sotelo.
As a final anecdote, note that in La Voz de Galicia on the 24th, a photograph of the Tower appears, still resting on the pavement, indicating that the bonfire had not burned despite the fact that, at twelve o’clock at night of that San Juan , Isabel Russian de Lago, Meiga Mayor 77, proceeded to consummate the rite of fire in San Juan and the Tower became a fire in the flames.
The following year, 1978, the design and construction of the allegorical bonfire was entrusted to our good friend Joaquín Castiñeiras, who, with great skill and taste, built a graceful Obelisk that was set on fire by Rosa Gil Caballero, Meiga Mayor de las HOGUERAS. -78.
For reasons that I cannot specify, although I suppose they would be of an economic nature, in 1979 no allegorical bonfire was burned, returning, much to our regret, to the traditional format that was burned, on the night of San Juan, by the X Meiga Mayor, Begoña López Abella.
It was, starting in 1980, with the burning of the doorway of a castle, with the figure of a ghost included, built by Jorge Armengol, member of the Board of Directors of the Commission of those HOGUERAS, when, without interruption, we recovered our allegorical bonfire and so on, to this day.
I believe that with this it is diametrically proven that the custom of burning an allegorical bonfire on the night of San Juan, obeys, like many other things, a project of the Commission of the Bonfires that was stolen, in a miserable and base way, by municipal misgovernment, arising from the 2015 elections.
José Eugenio Fernández Barallobre.