Las Fallas

How to describe Las Fallas?  It’s a crazy four day festival in Valencia, Spain, perhaps best summed up by this quote :

“Does the smell of gunpowder excite you? Does the sight of flames make you smile? Do you secretly harbor pyrotechnic urges that are only socially acceptable on the Fourth of July? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Las Fallas of Valencia is your kind of event–a loud, smoky, high-spirited fiesta where the whole town is literally set ablaze!”

But what did that look like on the ground?  Well, the first thing we heard every day at 8am was a band marching through the streets, playing joyfully while people lit off fireworks and threw firecrackers behind them. Firecrackers were thrown everywhere, all the time, by everyone. We saw tiny children and old men throwing them with abandon – and these were pretty impressive bangs that definitely made us start a few times!

 

Bands aplenty!
Bands aplenty!

 

Each day at 2pm, there is a mascleta in the town square. Basically, fireworks are fired in an attempt to be as loud as possible. I have never ever had my whole body shaken with fireworks, or had bits of ash and paper rain down on me from above, while being pressed in with thousands of other people – the mascleta was insane.

 

The mascleta from below
The mascleta from below

 

The mascleta from afar
The mascleta from afar

 

Every night around 1am there are fireworks, and these culminate in the Nit del Foc on the night of the 18th, where an incredible fireworks display takes place over the city.  This lasted for about half an hour and had some amazing, beautiful fireworks.

 

Karen and Sarah at the Nit del Foc
Karen and Sarah at the Nit del Foc

 

Amazing fireworks
Amazing fireworks

 

Beautiful!
Beautiful!

 

There are parades throughout the festival – women dressed in beautiful and valuable dresses walking with a band. The women have gorgeous traditional hairstyles to go along with their dresses.  On two of the days they are carrying flowers as an offering to the giant statue of Mary that is eventually covered with flowers.

 

Dressed for the parade
Dressed for the parade

 

Traditional hairstyles
Traditional hairstyles

 

Very valuable dresses!
Very valuable dresses!

 

Ready to go with flowers
Ready to go with flowers
Mary covered in flowers
Mary covered in flowers

 

Donuts, churros and other treats are available everywhere!

 

Yum!
Yum!

 

The true highlight of Las Fallas though is the ninots.  These are sculptures made of polystyrene, placed on every street corner. There are 11 “special” and 15 “primera” ones, which we made a point of trying to see as many of as possible.  These are massive and have lots of satirical political themes – we couldn’t understand the writing but some of the messages were pretty clear!  We loved seeing these – they are so artistic.

 

 

A "special"
A “special”

 

One of the premier ninots
One of the premier ninots

 

In front of the Town Hall
In front of the Town Hall

 

A "special"
A “special”

 

Amazing
Amazing

 

Each ninot also has a children’s one next to it and these were so cute.

 

 

P1230204
The detailing was amazing!
P1230241
So sweet!

 

An Egyptian themed children's falla
An Egyptian themed children’s falla

 

It’s best not to get too attached to any ninots though, as on the night of the 19th, these are burned! There is a competition and all but the winning ones are burned to a crisp.  Smoke and fumes rise through the air, the fire brigade comes and sprays the trees so they don’t burn, fireworks are going off everywhere – it’s crazy and wild and not at all safe, and we loved it!

 

 

Okay, there were firemen present - but only for the biggest ones!
Okay, there were firemen present – but only for the biggest ones!

 

First to go are the children’s ones…we watched the Egyptian themed one above being burned.  It started with the ninot being stuffed with fireworks, gun powder and gasoline…then the fuse above our heads was lit and fireworks went off and then it went up!

 

The fuse over our heads
The fuse over our heads

 

Fireworks going off
Fireworks going off

 

Burning
Burning

 

 

We needed a sangria after that excitement!
We needed a sangria after that excitement!

 

Later that night we watched the special Fallas being burned. We chose two next to each other and were able to see them both going up!

 

Beforehand
Beforehand

 

It begins
It begins

 

On fire
On fire

 

 

Loving it!
Loving it!

 

 

Round Two
Round Two

 

Here it goes!
Here it goes!

 

Wow!
Wow!

 

All that’s left the next day…

 

Ashes
Ashes

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Raci says:

    that is insane and I don’t think I would like it!

    Like

  2. Lynette Olson says:

    Quite a spectacle. So glad you got out of there safely.

    Like

  3. murray says:

    Awesome. I must say i answered yes to one of the questions at the start. That looks like such a cool festival – chinese new year is also loads of fireworks going off al the time that it sounds like you are in a warzone. Good to see you made it through!

    Like

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