The Fallas of Valencia are a festival that runs from March 14 (plantà infantil) to March 19 (cremá) with a deep-rooted tradition in the Spanish city of Valencia. A noisy celebration, full of smoke and in which flames dance in the streets and squares of Valencia.
Currently, this festivity has become a very important tourist attraction, since in addition to being listed as a festival of International Tourist Interest, in November 2016 Unesco inscribed them on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
It is not known for sure when Las Fallas began, but there are several theories. The most popular version says that Las Fallas come from a centuries-old tradition in Valencia in which the city’s carpenters burned the old materials you didn’t need one day before the day of St. Joseph (March 19), the patron saint of carpenters.
The festival lasts five days, from March 15 to 19, but in the atmosphere you start to breathe the smell of festivity from weeks before. It begins on March 1 (ending on the 19th), when a show begins with thunderous firecrackers form La mascletá every day at 14.00 in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. These firecrackers shake the ground for 10 minutes, as the mascletá is an auditory rather than a visual spectacle. And at night, La nit del foc, which is the most spectacular fireworks display you’ll ever see.
The festival really takes shape on March 15, with La Plantà, when more than 700 huge ninots are placed all over the city, so most of the streets are closed to traffic. In this way, the streets fill with people and activities during these days and nights of festivities.
For many, the main moment of Las Fallas is the creation and destruction of the ninots, which are large statues made of papier-mâché, cardboard, wood or gauze. The ninots are extremely realistic and usually depict satirical scenes or current events. Many ninots tell several stories, so cranes are needed to move them into place in Valencia’s plazas, parks or intersections. Many ninots are placed together so that the whole story can be seen in each falla.
For the next few days, people can walk the streets to admire the art and humor of these masterpieces and enjoy the traditional sweets sold on every street corner such as the classic bunyols de carabassa or churros with a cup of chocolate.
During the 17th and 18th of March you can go to the main streets to observe the beauty of La Ofrenda where the falleras and falleros walk the valencians streets with the traditional dresses to give a bunch of flowers to the Virgin and create an impressive mantle.
The ninots are kept in place until they are burned on March 19, the day known as La Cremà and closing of this festivity.
In addition to the daily firecrackers and the burning of the ninots, these days there are many other events that are also part of Las Fallas. People who go to the city can enjoy a wide list of concerts, parades, paella contests, floral offerings and beauty parades throughout the city.