Mascletà, Castillos, Discotecas, la Ofrenda, Streets of Lights, Falleros, Fallas, Buñelos de Calabaza, Música, Fuego, la CremàAll 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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falles
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|
|Me & Ninots Grandes|
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|
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|
|Banderillo "flagman" - a type of assistant to the matador|
|Matador - "El Juli"|
|Matador "López Simón"|
|Tower of Lights|
|Other street with lights and show|
|La Cremà of small Falla|
|At La Cremà|
|Large falla that we watched get burned|
|Burning of large Falla|
|Look at all the smoke!|