What Happens During Las Fallas In Valencia
Discover what happens during Fallas in Valencia, Spain. If you are travelling to Valencia in March, be sure to learn all the ins and outs of what happens during Fallas!
What Is Fallas?
Las 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. That’s when such cheap and easy to work with material as cardboard became increasingly available.
Little girls sporting the traditional Fallas garments & hairdo.
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 Las Fallas.
If you are travelling to Valencia for Fallas, make sure to familiarize yourself with the basics.
Here is a list of their names (all in the Valencian language) with descriptions.
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 in your body.
Valencians love exploding petards and firecrackers, and la mascletà is one of the most locally loved things.
There are lots of mobile kiosks in Valencia that fry the traditional Fallas 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!
Pumpking fritters freshly fried in many pop-up stands throughout the city.
What to know about la mascletà: if you want to experience the uproar of the firecrackers not far from the square, arrive an hour early.
Be aware that mascletà is not suitable for everybody.. It is very loud! People with hearing problems and children should probably not be present at la mascletà.
A non-typical colorless falla.
La plantà is when all the fallas installation must be completed, to avoid disqualification, by the end of the day of March 15th. So as of then you can walk around the city and take in the vibrant culture of Valencia!
Admire the masterfully executed and gravity-defying compositons filled with political satire.
Another common feature of the Fallas Festival is the use of figures representing nudity. You gotta love local folklore!
La Ofrena de Flors
Virgin Mary statue made of flowers.
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.
The crowds in Plaza de la Virgen during the Ofrena de Flors.
Els castells fireworks
On the nights of March 15th through 18th the Turia Gardens (former river-bed) become lit, when els castells fireworks are set. The last night is la nit del foc – when the fireworks display is at its most spectacular.
The falla in Plaza de Ayuntamiento is the main falla of the festival and gets burned last.
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!
La cremà is the burning act of purification – the city is set on fire on March 19th!
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 has enough time to get there to enjoy it.
If you love learning about the vibrant culture of Spain, join me on my tapas & wine tasting tour in Valencia! During this evening food tour we explore some of the off the beaten track neighborhoods of Ruzafa and Cánovas. We stop for a delicious tapas dinner at 5 traditional taverns!
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