A century of tradition
The earliest references to fireworks displays in Blanes date back to over a century ago. In the newspaper, La Nueva Lucha, from 21 July 1889, in the “News and Notices” section, we can read that on the occasion of the festa major there would be “a beautiful castle of fireworks, led by pyrotechnician Mr. Segismundo Abetlla (á) Cugul from Massanet”. In 1891, the Blanes-born writer Josep Alemany wrote the following in his personal diary: “After dining amid fireworks, serenades, dancing and drinks, we spent the night out and about, starting work at the factory at 5 o’clock in the morning without having slept. In the afternoon we went to Santa Cristina with some other friends to eat chicken in samfaina sauce.” In the special festa major (main festival) issue of the Blanes local newspaper El Atalaya, in reference to 26 July 1897, we read: “At 9 o’clock, launch of a pretty round of fireworks by a renowned fireworks technician.” For 27 July, the paper announces “the launch of another fireworks display.”
Another reference, found in the special supplement of the La Selva newspaper devoted to Blanes’ festa major of 1906, completes the picture of the atmosphere of these celebrations. J. Roig i Ruiz describes what in his opinion are improvements to the festival. In an article entitled “Look at Blanes now!”, the author lists various negative points regarding previous festivals and compares them with a series of improvements in the latest one. Among the events he comments on as improvements, he refers thus to the platforms mounted for the fireworks: “A platform for fireworks stands at one end of the promenade and everywhere there is an atmosphere of joy and of the incipient regeneration of Blanes.”
The fireworks tradition in Blanes was brought to an abrupt halt by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The custom was revived in 1944 for the festa major. Since then, fireworks displays have been organized every single year, except in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.