Updated: Apr 22
Valencia is getting ready to celebrate their glorious famous festival that will take place from March 15th with the "Plantà" (the complete installation of the monuments) to March 19th, where it comes to an end with the "Cremà" (the burning of the monuments).
Last March 1st, the mayor of the city Joan Ribó, along with the "Falleras mayores", announced the beginning of the festivity with the traditional "Cridà" which is the call to all Valencians to be ready for what it is yet to come.
But, what are Las Fallas?
Las Fallas de Valencia (Les Falles de València, in Valencian) is certainly one of the most spectacular festivals in the world. The word "Fallas" is used to name the festival, as well as the monuments displayed all over the city.
What happens during fallas?
The festival itself lasts for a week. However, the city starts getting into the festive mood from March 1st, and every day until March 19th, there is a Mascletà (a spectacle of noise with firecrackers and colour) at 2 pm in the Town Hall Square. The whole city seems to live in a bubble of joy and cheerfulness that one has to experience by themself. The city welcomes around a million tourists, doubling the population for a week, that enjoy the festival immersed in the culture with the "Falleros".
What is Las Fallas about?
Music: Hundreds of bands fill the city with music morning to dawn. Also, for 4 days at night, there are open-air dances with amazing bands and DJ's playing live music until 4 am.
Monuments: there are more than 600 fallas around the city. They are conformed by "ninots" (the actual puppets made of cardboard), that represent a social and political criticism towards politicians and famous people. Every year, there are two ninots from each Falla, saved from the flames and they are exhibited at the "Exposició del ninot" from the 1st of February to the 15th of March. There are also awards with different categories, to appreciate the efforts and creativity of the craftsmen.
Food: Paella is undoubtedly the star of the festival. You must try the original paella, but don't get content just with anything, since the experience can be quite disappointing. Head to Vernetta el mercado de las floresand enjoy the best paella and elaborated tapas in Valencia. In the evening, fill your guts with some Churros and Buñuelos with hot chocolate. And, last but not least, you can't leave Valencia without trying the famous drink Horchata with a type of pastry called Fartons.
Light: Public lightening is also a major part of the festival. Millions of bulbs light up the city and the displays are awarded to. Don't miss the chance to go to one of the most awarded Lightenings of all times, between the streets "Sueca - Literato Azorín".
Noise: Apart from the music, if something characterises Las Fallas is the noise of the firecrackers. Days start with a "Despertà" a morning call with firecrackers in every neighbourhood, all over the city. At 2 pm there are "Mascletàs" a spectacle of noise and gunpowder, that reach up to 120 decibels. Finally, at night, there are "Castillos de fuegos artificiales" stunning fireworks by the River Turia.
Costumes: Falleras and Falleros (women and men and children) wear typical costumes, jewellery and hairstyles during the week.
Religious tribute: Las Fallas has also a religious side. There is a floral offering to the Mare de Déu dels Desamparats, the patron saint of Valencia. The parade takes place during the 17th and 18th of March, when the Falleros bring bouquets to build the Virgin's cape with flowers.
Fire: All the monuments are burnt in flames on March 19th at night. It is a sad moment for most Valencians, because it means the closing of the celebrations; but at the same time, it means the beginning of work for the commissions and craftsmen for the year ahead to keep the spirit of Las Fallas alive to be one of the most distinctive festivals in the world.
Have you visited Las Fallas yet? You are still in time to buy the tickets to Valencia and have one of the most remarkable experiences in your life.
Can't make it to Fallas this year but still would love to visit Valencia?
Immersion Course in Valencia: Come with us for a week and enjoy an Intensive Course of Spanish. Goya Languages has the best Spanish Courses focused on conversation and the interaction with the locals, to live the experience to the fullest. Get more information here.
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Images: Pixabay, Bodagrafía, Andrea Miralles, Ana Sáez, Vernetta Instagram, Paula Ruiz,