Canals is a bustling historic village in the valley of Montessa in the Valencian Community, Spain. It lies 10 minutes from Xàtiva and 50 minutes drive from the city. It doesn’t particularly cater for tourists -which I love. The menus are in Spanish, the cooking is spectacular , the sights just as good and the people are warm and welcoming -especially when it’s festival time!
Beginning after New Year celebrations is the building of the biggest bonfire in the world and at over 25m it takes a month to perfect. La Foguera (bonfire) is traditionally burned with purifying fire on Sant Antoni’s eve -16th January.
It’s such an astonishing sight to see and the event is something that only the brave should witness in person. Me and Mr M were nestled in a crowd of thousands whilst the church bells rang and the fire spread a fierce heat throughout the square. The smell of burned oranges and fern is strong and the sense of danger seems to elude the families gathered to celebrate their Saint and literally set fire to any bad luck for the coming year.
The festival coincides with the increase of day length, the days get longer. As the Spanish proverb says: “Por San Antonio, un paso de demonio” (Every year for San Antonio, the light makes a big step forward).