Las Fallas, Valencia on Fire

Who knew that the burning of carpentry’s remains would become a festival that attracts over a million visitors? Discover this unique tradition in the world!

It looks like Carnival, but it isn’t. The arrival of spring in Valencia is synonymous with Fallas, a rumbling festival that invades the city streets with colour, light, fire ... and lots of satire!

Old Habits... Evolve

It lasts a week — from March 15 to 19 — and is the result of a year of hard work. Not surprising, the Fallas of Valencia is one of the most anticipated events (and not only in Spain). Fiesta of Internacional Tourist Interest and candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Fallas are deeply rooted in the hearts of Valencians.

Its origin dates back to the Middle Ages. Legend has it that, with the arrival of spring and the long days, the carpenters made a bonfire to get rid of parots — oil lamps supported by wooden arms. The fire was also harnessed to burn old furniture and debris accumulated during the year.

Art Doomed to Flames

For months, carpenters, sculptors and painters — artistas falleros — build ostentatious ninots or falla monuments, made of wood and papier-mâché. The ninots satirize everything and everyone; they illustrate social themes and issues, both local and regional. They reach up to 30 meters high!
Weeks before the festival, the ninots are subjected to the scrutiny of the Valencian people. The one that stands out most in each category (adult and children) is saved from the fire and earns the right to inhabit forever in the Fallero Museum of Valencia, at Plaza Monteolivete.

A Symphony of Explosions

Valencia is the land of lights and sounds. It is the land of pyrotechnics. Every day (from March 1 to 19), the floor of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, in front of the City Hall, trembles at the sound of mascletà. For several minutes, hundreds of gunpowder firecrackers are rhythmically set off. A true concert of explosions, much appreciated by the local population.
The nearest mornings of the Fallas are marked by the despertà. Calling for the party, the falleros throw trons de bac or masclets — firecrackers — that explode with great noise and wake up the whole neighborhood.

And Let the Hunt Begin

On the 16th of March, surprise! In each corner of Valencia, a ninot. In a race against time, the falleros spend the whole night erecting the monuments — la plantà —, offering a special "good morning" to the first passersby.
And let the hunt for ninots begin! Start at the beautiful Plaza de Toros de Valencia and go up the street Carrer de Ciril Amorós to the largest urban park in town, the Jardín del Turia. Relive the past and walk through the Puente del Mar, which once was the natural way that connected the city to the port. 

Don’t forget to restore energies under the Mediterranean sun. Be sure to stop by the bustling Plaza del Mercado where you can enjoy a fine Paella (the original!) accompanied by Horchata, one of the most popular drinks in Valencia. For dessert, take a Bunyol (pumpkin fritter), much appreciated during the Fallas.

Every Ninot for Itself

So begins the countdown to the most awaited show: the burning of the Fallas! Every night, the ninots sparkle under grandiose firework shows in the Alameda de Valencia area, between the Puente de la Exposición and the Puente de las Flores. The biggest of all spectacles happens in the Nit del foc (night of fire), the penultimate night of the Fallas.
At midnight of March 19, all the fallas are burnt! The night becomes day, illuminated by gigantic flames. Before thousands of eyes, all the artists’ work fall to the ground and break down into ashes. A true moment of ecstasy, purging and renewal.
And thus the fallas disappear!

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