What are Fallas de Valencia? My perspective on the 2017 celebrations

If there’s one thing I really love about the Spanish is their absolute love of celebration and general party. Okay, there are far more things I love about this country, but this one simply impresses me the most.

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Valencia has just finished celebrating their regional fiestas- Las Fallas. I was planning on writing about it before, but the pure madness of Fallas just sucked me in so here I am only a day after telling you how it was.

Las Fallas is a local celebration in Valencian Community. Each region and city tend to have their festivities and everybody gets some days off to relax and party in the general spirit of celebrations of their particular traditions.

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Las Fallas is a festival that, as you can tell, takes place in March and is a celebration to welcome the spring. The fallas are huge figures made of paper, cardboard and wood. Groups of people, neighbours or friends, come together and make a falla. Then, the figures appear all around the city in preparation for the final days of festivities. The fallas are absolutely stunning, especially that some of them reach over 10 meters and cost hundreds of thousands of euros to make.fallas

The final night of the festival the fallas are burned. Fortunately, a piece of each falla is kept and goes to a museum, but the rest of it goes up in flames. With the fireworks over our heads we watched the most beautiful art burning to ashes in no time. The tradition comes from the local carpenters burning the leftover wood at the beginning of spring. Over time they started building figures with the wood and that’s how the Fallas came to be.

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In addition, many other activities take place during the weeks leading up to Las Fallas, all somehow connected to light and fire. Special light decorations appear on the streets and compete for an award. The light shows attract thousands of people. Every day, at Plaza de Ayuntamiento there’s a Mascleta, a pyrotechnic spectacle of light and fire. At night special firework shows also light up the city’s sky. The number one activity for children is throwing fireworks and firecrackers, which makes walking the city quite an interesting experience.

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The people who take part in the festivities, called falleras and falleros, dress in the traditional clothing and there are countless parades all around the city. The women wear elaborate hairstyles and you can see even small children in strollers dall dressed up.

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I loved being able to be here for the Fallas. Mostly because the festivities leave noone behind, everybody celebrates by going out, watching the fallas, light and firework spectacles. People of all ages get together to build a falla and then celebrate the arrival of spring together. I already noticed people here are keen to party every day of the year. But the traditional festivities are something special. Witnessing the people, from small kids to their great-grandparents cultivating the traditions of their region is one of the best things about studying abroad in Spain to me!

Have you ever been to any local festivity that you loved? Tell me in the comments and head to my instagram for more pictures from Las Fallas de Valencia!

 

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