The night of the Dawn

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Blog > Travels > Alicante

The night of the Dawn

The night of the Dawn

Every night of August 13 in Elche there is a party called "Nit d'albà" in the local language. It is a celebration that is done as a tribute to the virgin of the assumption, patron saint of the city of Elche. That night all the people go up to their terrace to throw fireworks. At 23:15, people continuously shoot fireworks from the terraces of buildings, creating an unrivaled pyrotechnic show. his tradition, which dates back to the Middle Ages, was originally a way that had the families to thank the Virgin the children who had (launching a rocket for each child). Those fireworks are called “palm threes” for their resemblance with them when they are launch and explode at the top. Nowadays, each “ilicitano” shoots their own fireworks, but also the city provides the biggest one, so from 23:15 till 23:50 the spectacular firework show will surprise you not just for its beauty, but also for its noise, it is really hard to hear anything other than explosions during those minutes.

At 11:55 p.m., it is tradition that the people of Elche turn off the light to create total darkness. Although before the City Council cut the electricity supply to the city center, it was stopped because people were trapped in the elevators, among other things. Moments later begins to sound, wrapped in such darkness, the Hymn of the Coronation of the Mystery of Elche and 00:00 is launched from the Basilica of Santa Maria one palm of rockets(several thousand of them), which ascend about 300 meters and unfold in a radius of 800 meters, illuminating much of the city as if it were daytime. That's where the name comes from, "The Night of Dawn". The luminosity is maintained for about a minute and then, from the tower of the basilica an image of the Virgin of the Assumption made with flares is shown. While the habanera Aromas Ilicitanos (Elche's unofficial anthem) plays through high-powered speakers.

At the end of this show, hundreds of young people take to the streets to start the wheelbarrow war. This war, consisting of the launching of drunken rockets (popularly known in the area as wheelbarrows) among its participants, takes place in a limited and perimeter zone for this purpose. It used to be around the city and people were getting around the streets and up in the balconies just to watch. But since there were many injuries and property damages, currently this area is located on Filet de Fora street, in front of the Hort del Monjo, in a parking lot. Before reaching the restricted area, it was traditional for these "carters" to ask for water from the people leaning out of the balconies, some of which they threw in buckets.

Families get together every year to celebrate this magical night, the smallest ones learn how to shoot fireworks while the oldest shoot the big rockets up to the sky. After the “imperial palm three” illuminates the city, the tradition stays that its a must to each watermelon with friends and family, then go to the streets to keep up with the celebrations.

If you coming from anywhere in the world, remember that in Spain you can only use Euros, but you can come to our exchange offices in order to change your currency into Euros. And if you come to Alicante, make sure to ask us about how to get to Elche and check this amazing tradition and, why not, buy some fireworks yourself and be a part of it. From Eurochange we wish you a great Summer.