The crazy and incredible festival of Las Fallas is held in commemoration of Saint Joseph in the city of Valencia. The term Fallas refers to both the celebration and the monuments burnt during the celebration. The Fallas festival was added to UNESCO's 'intangible cultural heritage of humanity' list on the 30th November 2016, and I am not surprised because this festival is full of art, meaning and tradition and I think everyone should experience this once in life. Check out my previous story about the beginning of Fallas in Valencia.
Each neighborhood in the city has an organised group of people, the Casal faller in Valenciano or Casa Fallera in Spanish, which works all-year-long holding parties and dinners, usually featuring paella, the specialty of the region. Each society produces a construction known as a Falla which is eventually burned on the 19th of March, the day of Saint Joseph, which causes a huge amount of bittersweet emotions amongst the members of the societies as you can imagine, since they spend the whole year getting ready for it and feel the traditions deeply. I find the sculptures or monuments real pieces of art, and you can find more than 400 fallas around the entire city (the best ones, in my opinion, are in Ruzafa).
The five days and nights of Fallas can be described as a continuous street party, which almost every Spanish person, including me, loves. There are also three types of processions - historical, religious, and comedic – taking place every day. Explosions can be heard all day and night long, and this is not an exaggeration, so be ready for it because you won’t be able to sleep properly during the last five days of Fallas. Everyone from small children to elderly people can be seen throwing fireworks and noisemakers in the streets, which can be a bit annoying when you want to rest or sleep – that was the thing about Fallas that I liked the least, and it is important for you to know that this is not an exaggeration. In fact, each day of Fallas starts at 8:00 am with La Despertà ("the wake-up call"). Brass bands appear from the Casals (the Fallas societies) and begin to march down every street playing lively music and throwing large firecrackers in the street as they go.
This cool festival finishes around midnight on the 19th of March, when the sculptures are burned as huge bonfires. This is known as La Cremà (The Burning), the climax of the entire event and the reason why the constructions are called Falles (which means "torches" in Valenciano). Traditionally, a special Falla in the Plaça de l'Ajuntament is burned last-of-all and Valencian people stay awake to witness this ending and to see the city on fire, even though next day everyone has to go to work and children go to school.
Come to Valencia and get to experience the traditions yourself; the party, the gunpowder smell all over the city, the parades, the fireworks, the mascletá and the cremá and enjoy art all around the city.
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