Fiesta of Sant Antoni Abad in Canals

This is the main fiesta of the Valencian town of Canals in honor of its patron saint. It is held every year on January 16, 17 (the feast of St. Anthony the Great) and January 18 and is notable for its giant bonfire. The huge bonfire la foguera is lit in honor of the saint on January 16, but preparations begin as early as December 7, when the townspeople begin to harvest firewood. In fact, this bonfire is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest bonfire in the world. It looks unthinkable. At the base are firewood, which the residents of the city bring to the main square themselves, by hand. Spruce branches are thrown on top.

Religious celebrations and processions are held on January 17. And finally, January 18 is parels day, when specially selected groups of celebrants or "festeros" ride through the streets on horseback, handing out thousands of toys, and people enjoy traditional fiesta dishes such as pastas de San Antonio, which ends with a meal of rice casseroles for thousands of people. This holiday has been held since the middle of the 17th century, as a thank you to the patron saint for protecting the city from an earthquake. Saint Anthony Abad is the patron saint of domestic animals, so the cavalcade is decorated with horse-drawn carts with beautiful festive sleds arriving from various surrounding villages.


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