One of the most anticipating moments of the Sant Antoni festival is the lighting of the bonfire! Located in the middle of the main square and well loaded with firewood provided by locals, the bonfire is clearly one of the symbolic elements of the celebration. The Clavari and the two Majorals, the Pubilles, the Damisel·les and the Hereus are in charge of lighting the bonfire, which will burn for three days in a row. Most of the social and festive events, such as the Jota and Sardana dancing and the popular meals take place around the bonfire.
Jota dancing in the main square
Every day, from 6pm until midnight, the music does not stop playing and locals dance the traditional Jota around the bonfire! With its own music and dance, the Jota of Ascó is danced in pairs and is believed to have existed since at least 1520! If you feel like dancing in the most traditional way, you can buy a Sant Antoni cake and hold it in your hand while dancing!
Musicians play an essential role during the Sant Antoni festival as their performances accompany several events such as the first day’s plega, the Tres Tombs, the horse and donkey races and the Jota dancing in the main square. The band is made up of musicians from the village and, in many cases, the passion for music has been passed down from generation to generation within each family.
Popular meals around the bonfire
When it’s time for dinner, the music stops playing, but no one moves from the main square. It is time to go get the clotxa, a typical dish from Terres de l’Ebre made with bread, olive oil, tomato, garlic and grilled sardines. The best way to eat it is with a good glass of wine next to the bonfire, while you enjoy a music or comedy show. You can buy your ticket to get your meal in the main square.
Orquestra and party for the youngsters
After midnight, the Jota dancing stops at the main square but the party continues at the Casal Municipal, with an orchestra performing. Later on, it’s the turn of cover bands or DJs and the party lasts until dawn.
Would you like to learn how to dance the Jota around the bonfire? If you want to know more about the festival, here are two more articles that you might like: Sant Antoni Festival in Ascó: the Religious Side and Sant Antoni Festival: Animal Races and Traditional Games.