Las Fallas: Valencia’s artistic fiesta

Amazing Europe | | January 27, 2011 at 12:05 am




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Welcome to the spectacular burning festival of Valencia! Yes, Las Fallas is not only an artistic feast, but is an event of burning the hand-made sculptures called Fallas. Devoted to St. Joseph who is revered in Valencia as the patron saint of carpenters, the fiesta is a traditional commemoration that features constructing and burning of the Fallas, the sculptures. For this celebration, each neighborhood with its preformed folk group known as the Casal Faller participate happily for which the preparations take place well in advance. These fallers not only raise funds via parties, but also make a unique Falla for burning. From these facts of the Las Fallas, it is evident that Spain is truly a hub of bizarre festivals.

15th to 19th March is dedicated to these Fallas and craziness that throngs the surroundings of Valencia. The origin of the festival lies in the Middle Age when the carpenters hanged wooden planks (parots) in winter in order to hold their candles while at work, which were burned on the arrival of spring marking the end of winter darkness. However, unlike these traditional parots of clothes, the present-day ninots are the figures of plaster, cork, cardboard, polyurethane, wood, papier mache, and Styrofoam. These ninots are created at ciutat fallera where the Casal Fallers spend months for these incredible mammoth tableaux. Now a days, it has become a trend to portray ninots at the major spots in the city as the wicked ironic outlines of the known national as well as international stars.

This festival of fallas is loaded with several indulging events due to which I would suggest preparing for an early start. Daily, a stirring wake-up call at 8 am will make you active, which is termed as La Desperta. The locals bang their brass bands as well as burn firecrackers making a loud noise to wake you up. Then, your entire day is filled with noisy surprises in form of explosions as well as processions. You should begin with spotting the dozens of Fallas seen all over the city, but more admired at the ‘Secció Especial’ and at ‘Town Hall’. Mostly, after 8 am, the city is full of endless party atmosphere featuring parades, beauty shows, bullfights, paella competitions, and pageants.

At 2 pm, La Mascleta takes place, which is the Spain’s noisiest event of pyrotechnical explosions that are worth watching at the Plaza Ayuntamiento. This is when the acrobats occupy the streets as well as the fireworks that shoot the rockets high in the sky leaving smoke trails behind. Although it is very noisy, do not avoid it as it will hint you of what will come later. The Las Fallas festival also conducts the Flower Offering ceremony that is completely for the ladies who carry flowers in costumed robes, parade around the city, and reach the Plaza de la Virgen where they offer the flowers to the Virgin.

When night begins to knock, the firework display at the old river bed is sure to captivate your eyes and mind. The major firework display takes place on the final night that is traditionally termed as the Night of Fire or La Nit de Foc featuring one of the largest Spanish fireworks. This is when the giant Fallas are burned. However, one of them is being spared as the winner of the festival, which is then housed in the Fallas museum at Plaza Monteolivete forever. At 10 pm on the final night, each neighborhood first burns the children falla, which is then followed by the real burning of giant fallas after midnight. The most giant ones are brought on the main square of Plaza Ayuntamiento at 1 am. With the street lights turned off, all firework-packed ninots are burned.

Because Las Fallas is so noisy, it is not recommended for pregnant ladies and also for those who cannot bear noise. Further, you must be fit enough to party continuously around as there is no time for relaxation at all!

Tip

I recommend coming in early March begins because of the unique paella competition. Paella is a delicious preparation with surprisingly no seafood. Besides that, savor the bunuelos, the funny donuts with a chocolate drink.

Accommodation

For accommodation, I would recommend booking a room in Hotel Husa Reina that is close to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and is reasonable for 48 Euros per night. Do so well in advance as after all, it is the festival time!

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