Blog

LAS FALLAS FESTIVAL IN VALENCIA

Whilst thousands of festivals are celebrated all over Spain throughout the year there are only a few that bring overseas visitors specifically for the event. The Fallas fiesta which takes place in Valencia from 15th to the 19th of March every year is undoubtedly one of those ‘super-festivals’ attracting many foreign visitors as well as Spanish tourists from all over the country. This was the first major festival I ever went to in Spain and to this day cannot get over the sheer craziness of it all.

Las Fallas Festival – Valencia

Whilst thousands of festivals are celebrated all over Spain throughout the year there are only a few that bring overseas visitors specifically for the event. The Fallas fiesta which takes place in Valencia from 15th to the 19th of March every year is undoubtedly one of those ‘super-festivals’ attracting many foreign visitors as well as Spanish tourists from all over the country. This was the first major festival I ever went to in Spain and to this day cannot get over the sheer craziness of it all.

San José (Saint Joseph), the patron saint of carpenters, is the official focus for the festival. It all started back in the Middle Ages when carpenters used to hang up planks of wood called ‘parots’ in the winter to support their candles when they were working. At the onset of spring these pieces of wood would be burned as a way of celebrating the end of dark, winter working days. After a while they began to put clothing on the ‘parot’ and then started to try to make it identifiable with a well-known local personality. These became the forerunners of the contemporary ‘ninots’, the enormous cardboard, wooden, polyurethane, Styrofoam, cork, plaster and papier-maché figures of today. The authorities later decided to link the burning of the ‘parots’ with Saint Joseph’s Day to try to stop it getting out of control!.

Nowadays, each neighbourhood has an organising committee, the ‘casal faller’, who raise the necessary finances for constructing the ‘ninots’. There is even an area of the city called the ‘Ciutat Fallera’ where whole groups of workers and designers spend months creating all the incredible towering tableaux. The ‘ninots’, which are placed at key places throughout the city, are often cruel satirical lampoons of well-known Spanish and international celebrities or politicians.

 

A Day at the Fallas

If you decide to go to the Fallas festival prepare for an early start. Each day begins with a startling wake-up call known as ‘La Despertà’ at the ridiculous time (in Spain) of 8am. You’ll just love being woken by brass bands marching down the streets accompanied by those preposterously loud firecrackers; which themselves activate car and shop alarms – just to make sure you’re ready for a day’s fun.

All day, you’ll see processions and hear explosions and then at 2pm ‘La Mascletà’ begins when there are organised pyrotechnical explosions all over the city, especially in Valencia’s main square, the Plaza Ayuntamiento. At first you’ll think they’re earth-shattering but they’re just an appetizer for what will come later.

On each night there is a firework display in the old river bed and they escalate in degrees of spectacle until the final night, 19th March, the Night of Fire – ‘La Nit de Foc’. This is the famous event when the enormous creations are destroyed. Neighbourhoods will have their own ‘falla infantile’ for the children at about 10pm and then, at around midnight, the neighbourhood ‘fallas’ will begin. The final, grandest fire, in the Plaza Ayuntamiento, won’t get under way until 1am at the earliest with huge crowds waiting in eager anticipation of the burning. The ‘ninots’ will all have been stuffed full with fireworks, the street lights switched off and the firemen will be in position when the 20 to 30 foot models, which took months of painstaking construction, will be razed to the ground. Each year, one ‘ninot’ is spared the ordeal (as a result of a public vote) whilst the rest suffer a spectacular fate.

More info : http://www.spain.info/es/

Related Posts

GRAPE HARVEST FESTIVALS IN SPAIN

You will find many very good, quality wines in Spain which enjoy international prestige. A special time to enjoy this typically Spanish product is in early autumn, when the grape harvest festivals are held.

CARNIVAL FESTIVALS IN SPAIN

Carnival celebrations, held just before Lent, have religious origins and feature traditions drawn from the pre-Christian festivals Bacanales and Saturnales of ancient Rome. Today however, the Carnival festival has become a pagan celebration which often offers participants the chance to briefly escape their everyday problems and add a touch of optimism to their lives.

Add comment

5 × 3 =

Latest Posts