All you need to know about the FallasLaurence Lemoine
How can one describe the “Fallas” such unclassifiable, unique and unimaginable celebrations? Difficult indeed to depict multifaced festivities, rich in activities as varied as they are spectacular … Because these great traditional festivals must be lived in situation to be able to understand, at least partially, the meaning and to feel the dizziness of the atmosphere … The sensations are complete, sight, sound, taste and odour .. art, religion, pyrotechnics, gastronomy and good humor are the components of this annual event which attracts more than one and a half million visitors and whose excessiveness is the imprint of festivals classified as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Not easy to know with certainty the origin of these celebrations but the word “falla” in Valencian comes from the Latin word “Facula” which means torch, fire being a central element, since on each eve of “San José” (saint of the carpenters and the city) the inhabitants used to burn torches and all their old objects to make way for spring. Different from a carnival where characters are built and parade, here groups of characters are built representing a satire of society or facts that have marked the past year in Spain or in the world. This is the “Planta” that takes place on March 15th and 16th. Formerly in wood, these giant colorful characters are now made of polystyrene and form a transitory open air museum, since all these creations will eventually be burnt on the evening of March 19th (except one of the characters that will be “saved” and will join the famous museum of Ninots ).
> A Falla designates both the artistic-satirical work that is distributed throughout the city of Valencia but also in the surrounding villages (there are 700 in total!) groups of neighbors and friends (los Falleros) who all year round, prepare these festivities in a “Casal” (town hall).
Another indisociable element is the famous “mascletà”, this incredible daily pyrotechnic show whose decibels make the soil under your feet tremble and all the windows around … From the 1st to the 19th of March at 2pm, on the big “Plaza del Ayuntamiento”, nearly 300 kilos of powder turn into smoke in a thunderous show of uninterrupted explosions for 7 minutes: becareful with your eardrums, sometimes it reaches 120 decibels! … tens of thousands of spectators are then fulfilled … all that is left to do now is eat the famous “Churros and Buñuelos” that perfume the streets of Valencia, since, for the occasion a hundred or so stands with showmen take their quarters in Valencia. The smell of fried oil and powder mix inexorably, scenting the Valencian air with a truly special fragrance
But to talk about the Fallas without mentioning the other great moment that constitutes the famous Ofrenda, would be to forget one of the strongest and probably the most moving moments of these festivals, since it is an incessant parade of more than 100,000 Falleros in traditional clothes that make their way to the Plaza de la Virgen and deposit carnations on the wooden structure of the “Virgen de los Desemparados” wich will be gradually dressed with a huge coat of flowers. Every year, the design is different but the colors remain the same: white, pink and red. This parade takes place on March 17th and 18th, participants often walking several kilometers in a meditation that is always impressive to see.
In another gender but also spectacular, are the street lights that although not really part of the Fallas they have become another great attraction over time. They begin Saturday, March 10th and it is especially in Russafa that it happens! Calle Cuba, calle Suecia …. but also behind the Estacion del Norte and Malvarosa Avenue.
Very popular, these illuminations begin at 8pm and constitute a show of sound and light with a debauch of decibels and lumens with no equivalent that just grabs youby suprise. An estimated 300,000 light bulbs are installed in each street.
Also a must-see, on the evening of the 18th, the magical fireworks of the “Nit del Foc”: 22 minutes and 4.500 kg of powder will leave you speechless! Corridas, verbenas, concerts and various petarades will be added to this already busy program.
And then, March 19th … the party continues but on this night, all the Fallas will be burned (yes yes, it is hundreds of thousands of euros and hours and hours of effort that will go up in smoke) …! The Falleros and tourists will be exhausted by all this excess and these nights probably too festive … On the