Incroyables Fallas !

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Incroyables Fallas !

What Is Fallas?

Fallas is a March festival exclusive to the region of Valencia. It is in essence a celebration of the coming spring.

The word “fallas” refers to the large and tall compositions of figures made of papier mache. The holiday’s pinnacle is on March 19th – Saint Joseph’s Day. Saint Joseph is the patron of the carpenters in Valencia. Which makes total sense, since fallas were made of wood until the 20th century.

Each of the city’s neighbourhoods constructs its own falla. The process is administered by a casal faller (an association of people from falleros of the neighbourhood). They work all year round gathering the funds for their falla production. About 350 bigger and 350 smaller fallas get installed throughout the city. On March 19th the elaborate huge figurine compositions in the streets get burned as an act of purification!

What Happens During Fallas?

There are several essential parts to the colorful and insanely daring festival of Fallas. Here is a list of their names (all in the Valencian language) and descriptions.

La Mascletà

Starting on March 1st and ending on March 19th the City Hall Square Plaza de Ayuntamiento becomes the center stage daily at 2 pm. Huge crowds fill the streets leading to the square to experience the show. Hundreds of firecrackers explode in the air, producing a designed rhythmic pattern, which is different every day .

Prior to the start, the main elected fallera of the year announces from the City Hall balcony: “Senyor pirotècnic, pot començar la mascletà!”  – “Mr. pyrotechnic, you may commence la mascletà!”

La mascletà is not so much about the visual show. It’s mostly about the noise and experiencing the rhythmic vibrations with your body. Valencians love exploding petards and firecrackers, and la mascletà is one of the most locally loved things.

During Fallas there are lots of mobile kiosks in Valencia that fry the local traditional food: pumpkin fritters called bunyols in Valencian (buñuelos in Spanish).  Eat them piping hot with a sprinkling of sugar and dip them into thick hot chocolate!

La Ofrena de Flors

On March 17th and 18th the whole city center becomes a scene filled with flowers and Valencia’s popular music. Ladies dressed in traditional Fallas costumes carry flowers on behalf of every casal faller to make a huge floral statue of Virgin Mary at Plaza de la Vírgen.

La Cremà

On March 19th at 7 pm there is a “fire procession” in Colón street and at midnight comes “la cremà” – the huge fallas get burned down. Considering the fact that some of them can be as tall as a 5 storey buidling, you can expect to see some spectacular sights in Valencia on this night!

What to know about la cremà: if you want to see the burning of the fallas, be aware that the ignition process doesn’t start until all safety precautions are taken, so do not expect it to start punctually. The main falla – the one by the City Hall building – is burned the last, so that everyone can watch it.

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