Until our first Correfoc in Spain, we didn’t understand the obsession that Spaniards have with all things fire, especially fireworks. But when we recently experienced the Correfoc in the Mediterranean town of Denia, we found ourselves mesmerized. For the first time we felt the pull and draw of the ancient magic of fire and explosives that Spaniards give themselves over to. And it was spectacular.
This video that we created from our experience of our first Carrefoc in Spain, shows how it’s not just the element of fire that works this magic. It is the experience that the locals craft from a combination of fireworks and firecrackers, music, dress, and movement. Oh, and some very creative, quality craftsmanship of welding.
Just want to watch our video?
Skip ahead to watch our video further below.
Our First Correfoc in Spain – The Procession Begins
It began in the middle of the night, at the top of Denia’s main street of Marques de Campo. People were gathered in the street and filled the sidewalks on either side. Drums began to beat and everyone’s attention went to a group of people who were peculiarly dressed. They are the ‘Dimonis Polopins’ and were completely covered in black and red, from their heavy boots, long fireman pants and jackets, to hoods over their heads that have red horns on them. They even wore gloves, all for protecting themselves from the burning embers soon to follow.
Behind them was the marching band, with drummers and other musicians. Then rising with the beating of the drums, came a chorus of clarinet-like notes, sounding magically Medieval and ancient. The rhythm was lively and carried on for the entire procession. It was then that one of the hooded people stepped forward and lit a tall pole he held. It was topped with firecrackers on a spinner that he began to spin rapidly. It quickly lit up to explode into a shower of fiery particles that went flying out over the crowds close by. From there, the procession made its way down the street and the firecrackers did not stop.
Our First Correfoc in Spain – From Run to Dance
The procession took its time and at different points along the way, there were uniquely crafted devices that shot off sparklers and firecrackers of all sorts. Whether it was a wheel barrow, bicycle or shopping cart, it was loaded with pyrotechnical explosives. Every moment was surprising, with curtains of white sparklers being set off across the street at different points.
We quickly learned what the game was for the viewers. Spectators would run to join the hooded holder of the fire and dance with them, trying to be as close to them as possible. Together, they were under what was an umbrella of embers showering everywhere. We were pretty close the whole time and felt the embers burn us and smelt the smoke. While the embers hurt, the sensation and the mood of the setting was so intoxicating, that you found yourself running to it, only to dart away and then still return as though you couldn’t help yourself. The procession radiated an enchantingly dark and deliciously mystical energy. There was almost something cultish about it, the dress and the music. It had a level of fright to it, yet was enticing and energizing.
When the procession reached the end of the Marques de Campo, there was a grand finale. A metal dragon was carried into the crowd, blazing with red smoke and exploding firecrackers from its mouth. Then they set off large spinners of firecrackers and fire shooters, bringing everything to a close with a thunderous display of fireworks shot off high into the sky.
While we still may not run to all things fire as much as the Spaniards do, we now understand better what draws them to it. It captivated us. Would we do it again? We could not resist it!
Some Facts About the Correfoc in Spain
- The name, ‘Correfoc’, literally means ‘fire run’ in Catalan.
- This Correfoc takes place each year, usually on the Tuesday night of the Festa Major, which is a week-long summer festival in the middle of July in Denia, Spain.
- Many other places in Spain have their own Correfocs as well, especially in Barcelona and throughout its region of Catalunya.
- It’s a free event and all ages are allowed to attend.
- It’s helpful to wear clothing that protects your skin and close-toed shoes. But most people get by with whatever summer clothing they have on.
Written by Amalia & Eric
Founders & Producers of Move to Traveling
We’re Amalia and Eric – a traveling couple who are living a traveling lifestyle. Do you love to travel? Perfect! Come along…