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Monday, April 09, 2012 (read 2201 times)

Las Fallas Valencia

by Kimberly

Las Fallas, the Falles festival, or Fallas Festival, in Valencia, Spain is one of the most well known Spanish fiestas.

In honor of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of Valencia who was a carpenter, the loud and fiery event revolves around “Falles” , or “Fallas” in the Valencian language, literally means “fires” which refers to the burning of huge puppet or doll structures made of cardboard, wood, paper-machè and plaster called “ninots”. 

During Las Fallas, the ninots are placed throughout the city in over 350 key intersections and parks during the event. The ninots often represent satirical scenes, current events or popular celebrities and are constructed by organizations and groups who spent up to 6 months preparing for the event and can invest up to $75,000 on their creation, in hopes of winning some of the many prizes offered to the best ninots.  These massive structures often reach several stories in height and need to be placed in their respective locations with the aid of cranes.

The huge ninots during the Fallas Festival decorate the city until March 19th, a day known as La Cremá (the burning day).  Early in the evening, each ninot is filled with fireworks and at midnight they are all set on fire.  Only one ninot is saved from its fiery death, the one that receives the most votes by the public each year. This spared ninot will then be placed on display at the Ninot Museum.  The city goes ablaze as onlookers marvel at the blazing destruction that reduces the ninots to ashes throughout the city.

The Fallas celebration is televised throughout Spain and attracts thousands of visitors every year to Valencia. During Las Fallas, many other events and activities take place. There are bullfights, parades, Valencia paella contests, beauty pageants and much more throughout the city.  Valencia is also famous for its numerous spontaneous firecracker displays during the Las Fallas.  The firecracker displays are a loud event that makes downtown Valencia sound something like a battlefield. As the “burning day” approaches, these explosions become more frequent and random, although everyday at 2 pm a thunderous rhythmic firecracker show is set off at city hall causing the ground to tremble and the birds to abandon the city.

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Posted In: Spain, Culture


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