I don’t know how I didn’t realise this before, but I didn’t write about Fallas!
Fallas (Falles in Valencian) is a festival celebrated in Valencia in March. It is a festival of fire. Throughout all of March in the City of Valencia, and the surrounding towns hundreds of very large statues made from paper-maché, polystyrene, and wood are constructed around the city with small statues, called Ninots, placed around the larger ones helping to create a satirical scene. The large statue and the ninots together are called a Falla, and on the 19th of March the fallas are burnt. However, two ninots are saved, there is an exhibition and the public vote on their favourite two to save and they are displayed in the Fallas museum.
Fallas originally started as a Spring clean. Valencians would burn anything they no longer wanted as a clear out. It gradually evolved and people started creating small figures to burn with their ‘rubbish’, the evolution continued and it became what Fallas is today – gigantic satirical monuments that cost a fortune (more than €250,000) that get burned in front of hundreds of thousands of people.
Fallas starts at the beginning of March and culminates with La Cremà (the burning) on the 19th. Every day in March at 2pm in the Town Hall Square – Ayuntamiento, mascletàs are set off. Mascletàs are very large firecrackers which aren’t much to look at, they are just a ball of light in the sky, but you feel them. The first time I heard them I realised you could literally feel sound. The noise reverberates off all of the surrounding buildings and it feels like it reverberates within your body as well. It is so strange and incredible. People who have never experienced mascletàs I don’t think will ever understand the thrill they create when they are all going off. Just hearing them on a sound clip or a video will not do them justice.
For the majority of Fallas, in Ruzafa light shows happen every evening. They are truly beautiful with millions of LEDs switching on and off in different colours in time to music. I remember last year when I turned down the street the lights were set up on, my jaw was on the floor, and then watching the show is another thing altogether!
On the 17th and 18th of March each community of Valencia walks the streets to Plaza de la Virgen to offer flowers to a statue of the Virgin Mary that has been placed in the square. By the end of the offering, the statue and the whole square is decorated in stunning flowers. It is such a beautiful site to see. On the 18th March in the evening there is a special fireworks display called La Nit del Foc which means the night of fire. It is spectacular. The fireworks are set off from The Turia which is the old dried out riverbed in Valencia which is now a sort of park. The fireworks are stunning and you can be standing very close to them which is quite amazing.
La Cremà, the burning. The 19th of March is when Fallas ends. The evening starts around 7pm when there is a Fire Parade from Razafa through to Calle Colon. The parade is brilliant and people are so close they literally get his with the small sparks from the fireworks! At 10pm all the children’s fallas start to be burned, then at midnight they start burning the larger statues and ninots followed by the main, and biggest statue (although I never think it looks as impressive as all the others) at 1am in Ayuntamiento.
Here are a few pictures of the Fallas from this year:
Being a very topical subject of the year, Trump made an appearance on several of the Fallas as a Ninot. Including on the one above.
There was a Falla that was based around theatre as well which I absolutely loved!
Have you ever been to Valencia during Fallas? What did you think?