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What is Las Fallas?

You may have heard a lot of fireworks recently, and that’s because Valencia is currently celebrating Las Fallas. It is typically a 19 day long festival and whilst it cannot continue as normal during the pandemic, there will still be lots of celebrations.



Origins


The festival began as an old carpenter’s tradition. They would use pieces of wood to hold candles during the winter months and then burn them afterwards to celebrate the arrival of Spring. This soon evolved to dressing up the wood in clothing so that they looked like people - eventually becoming the figures called Falles that we see today.


Mascletà



Fireworks are a huge part of Fallas and you will often hear them everyday from the 1st of March all the way to the 19th. In particular there are usually displays from the 15th until the end of Las Fallas, with a unique display on the Nit del Foc on the 18th.


La Plantà



The Falles are wooden figures displayed on cardboard and paper-mache monuments. These monuments must all be completed and erected by the 15th, in an act called La Plantà.


They are often made to look like famous pop-culture figures - with memorable ones being Shrek, Barack Obama and Lady Gaga.


Procession



On the day of the 17th, the falles are usually paraded through the city towards the plaza de ayuntamiento. There is also a flower ofrenda where flowers are laid onto a statue of the Virgin Mary.


Before covid-times there were usually around 750 monuments in total, and they are all judged for a winner to be chosen.


The cremà


After all of the falles have been judged a winner is chosen. Then on the 19th March they are all burnt in a huge bonfire with the winner being burned last.






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