Las Fallas for Dummies

las fallasLet me guide you, if you are a newbie in the world of Las Fallas. It is definitely a good choice to take part in the biggest celebration of Spain. Don’t worry about seeing everything, because that is not possible. Every district in Valencia has their own celebrations and most of them are simultaneously with others. I will show the do’s and don’ts to get the most out of it.

What you need to know: Las Fallas is a traditional spring time celebration, held on March 19th, which is Saint Joseph Day. They gather and burn the firewood that is leftover after winter, as it is no longer necessary for warmth or light. Throughout the year they build monuments (called Fallas), that they place on the squares and intersections 5 days before the fires. On the night of March 19th till the early morning of March 20th they burn all the monuments.

All year long artists design and build these structures in big industrial buildings. March 14th and 15th is La Plantà. This is the deadline, to have them completely finished on the final spot at a square or an intersection. In the early morning jurors come and judge the monuments on many different levels. The best in every section win prizes.

The celebrations begin on the last Sunday of February when the Fallera Mayor  gets the key of the city, from the Mayor. She and her court represent the city for a whole year. Not only in Valencia, but they travel also to other cities and countries to teach the world about the local traditions. Every year a new Fallera Mayor (Queen of the Fallas) is chosen. This night of La Crida is the kickoff with lots of fireworks and a beautiful show.

To illuminate the monuments, some clubs have beautiful arches filled with lights. At night they have shows Iluminación with music and the lights flikkering in all different colors at the rhythm of the music.

Every neighborhood has their own Falleras. The ladies of all ages in traditional dresses bring flowers to the holy Mary (Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados) at the Plaza de la Virgen. La Ofrenda takes place on March 17th and 18th.

From the first till the 19th of March there is a Mascletà at the Town hall square every day at 2pm. This is a show with very loud firecrackers. As we come closer to the finals, the shows are getting bigger and louder. It is all about the rhythm. La Despertà is in the early mornings of the festivities, when Falleras & Falleros wake up the whole neighborhood with their loud firecrackers. You can also enjoy a fireworks at night Castillo de Fuego. These are held on March 15th, 16th, 17th and the Nit del Foc is the biggest show on the night of March 18th.

La Cremà is when they burn the monuments on the 19th. You can see more than one fire if you move yourself along different areas. On the same day at  7pm there is a fire-parade. They call this the Cabalgata del Fuego.

These are just a few things that might become in handy when you join the celebrations. There is much more to see and to experience. Now just be present and enjoy yourself! Let me know what you think.

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