Sunday, March 20, 2016

¡Las Fallas!

Mascletà, Castillos, Discotecas, la Ofrenda, Streets of Lights,  Falleros, Fallas, Buñelos de Calabaza, Música, Fuego, la Cremà

All of those things that I just mentioned are major factors in the celebration of Las Fallas in Valencia.  The celebration begins on the 15th of March and concludes on the 19th, which is Día de San José.  This marks the spring for the city, and therefore it is brought in with a lot of loud noise.  Also, because Saint Joseph was a carpenter, the people used to burn the left over woodwork and that's how the "fallas" came to be burned.   
Read more about Las Fallas at:

The first thing that I did to start out the celebration of Las Fallas was go to the "Exposició del Ninot." This is where all of the ninots that were made are on display and visitors can vote for the ninots in each category that will not be burned on March 19th.  There are two categories:  ninots infantiles and ninots grandes.  The ninots are constructed with wood, paper maché, and other combustible products.  Below are some of my favorites.  
Museu de Ciences Principe Felipe where the Exposició del Ninot was located, City of Arts & Sciences

Ninots Infantiles

Ninot Infantil

Ninot Infantil

Ninot Infantil

Ninot Grande

Ninot Grande

Me & Ninots Grandes

Ninot Grande
Ninot Grande

Also every day at 2pm since March 1st there have been the mascletà in the Plaza de Ayuntamiento.  I didn't start going until this past week because I have a class that goes until 1:15 but I watched them on tv.  The first time I went I realized how much different it is in person.  It's so loud and the ground shakes so much but that makes it so cool.  The video is from the first day that I went and it was after my class so we weren't able to get a good spot.  But I did go again the past three days and was able to see a lot better because I was able to arrive earlier.  

Something similar to the mascletà that began on the night of March 15 was the fireworks at night that are also known as the "castillo de fuego" that were presented over the river park.  These fireworks were really spectacular and it was cool because we were so close to them.  The fireworks were every night on the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th, each night getting better and better.    

During the nights after the fireworks there were plenty of things to do such as buy foods from food tents in the streets and even go to outside discotecas with cool music.  There were also rock concerts with live bands and I'm not one to stay out late but I really enjoyed all of this after the fireworks. 

One afternoon I went out with my friend Megan to wander around the city and see fallas and eat some buñuelos and chocolate.  Buñuelos are similar to churros (a type of fried dough which are also very popular here) and they are made with pumpkin in them also.  They taste the best if they are fresh and hot and are eaten by dipping them in a cup of hot chocolate (which is thicker than hot chocolate in the US).  Meg and I bought a dozen and put down six each!  There were stands all around the city that were selling these, churros, and other sweets.  

Also on our walk we saw some of the fallas that were on the streets around the center of the city.  

Falla in Plaza de Ayuntamiento

On the night of Thursday, March 17, Christina and I went to see some of the Ofrenda de flores.  Falleras and falleros (men, women, and children) are dressed up in traditional Valencian dress and have a procession through the city bringing flowers to the Virgin Mary in the Plaza de la Virgen.  The falleros are also followed by a band playing Fallas music.  This procession lasts from 3:30pm until almost midnight on March 17th and March 18th.  There is a wooden structure in the plaza in which people place the flowers on and make a beautiful design as her dress.  I wish I was able to record the smell of all the flowers in the plaza as I walked through it because it was so nice and beautiful! Also all of the dresses of the falleras were so beautiful and there were so many of them!

Ofrenda in Plaza de la Virgen with the placing of the flowers on the Virgin

Procession of young falleras during the Ofrenda
On Friday, March 18th I went to my first bull fight in Plaza de los Toros.  They only have bull fights in Valencia during the week of Las Fallas so we took this opportunity to go.  Bull fighting began in the south of Spain and when one were to think of Spain, one of the first symbols of the culture that would come to their head would be a bull fight.  
It was a very exciting experience and it was fun to experience the art and culture it.  Unfortunately, six bulls were killed that evening by two matadores.  

Plaza de los Toros, Valencia

Bull Ring
Banderillo "flagman" - a type of assistant to the matador

Matador - "El Juli"

Picador (

Matador "López Simón"

"López Simón"
That night I also went out with my friends Christina and Jackie to see the lights in Russafa.  They are really pretty and the two main streets also have light shows with music which were really amazing.  The streets were so packed that there was zero personal space watching the light show.  

Light Show

Tower of Lights
Other street with lights and show
Saturday, March 19th, Día de San José is the last day of Las Fallas and the day when all of the fallas and their ninots get burned.  That afternoon I went to the last mascletà and then went home to eat lunch and take a rest before the night of burning began.  After my nap I went to meet up with the rest of my friends at Leo's apartment and we played games all evening until it was time to go out and see the buring, also known as "La Cremà."  When we left her house we went to see a small falla be burned.  It was neat because first they shoot off fireworks, which were really close so we were right underneath them, and then they light a rope that has some fireworks attached and then the fire continues down the rope and lights the falla on fire.  So cool!  After the little one we kept walking to find a big one being burned a little later.  It is the same process.  The large falla got go hot that we had to move backwards and there were so many people I had people right on top of me and no personal space whatsoever.  This was scary but fun at the same time.  

La Cremà of small Falla

At La Cremà

Large falla that we watched get burned

Burning of large Falla
Look at all the smoke!
The last thing for the night was going to the Plaza de Ayuntamiento to see the fireworks and watch them burn the large falla there.  The problem was that because there was so many people we did not arrive early enough where we could see the falla be burned but we still saw the fireworks and were there for the burning.  It was so packed that I was leaning on everyone and everyone was leaning on me.  I think every inch of all the streets going into the plaza was covered with people. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my!
    Another great week. The light show must have been spectacular. I can't imagine burning all the beautiful pieces. Everything is so delicate and colorful. I am a fan of St. Joseph and he is basically my saint. I do ask him for many favors.
    Have a wonderful week and Happy Easter. It will be a great experience to celebrate a holiday in Spain and see what their customs are and how they differ from ours.
    Be safe, study, and have fun.