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Las Fallas: The brightest, noisiest festival in Spain

Posted by Katy Peck on 23 May 2019
Related property: Javea
Las Fallas: The brightest, noisiest festival in Spain

The city of Valencia, just over an hour from our Javea property, is famous for many things, including its history, architecture and markets. However, if you’re visiting this part of Spain during March, you can’t miss one of the most spectacular, significant fiestas in the country; Las Fallas.

There are many celebrations which take part in this region of Spain throughout the year, but Las Fallas is one of the biggest… and certainly the loudest! Around the middle of March (usually between the 15th and 19th), giant statues and characters arrive on Valencia’s streets and in the plazas. The city comes alive with alfresco parties, fueled in no small part by local beer and wine, delicious food, music and fireworks. The party atmosphere is palpable and it’s impossible to miss the way the festival feeling takes over the city. In fact, the only thing to do is join in!

Fallas is a week-long celebration marking the beginning of spring as well as celebrating Saint José (the patron saint of carpentry). Although the actual festival only lasts 4 days, preparation and planning take place throughout the year. When you visit, it’s easy to see why so much time was needed; there’s incredible costumes, weird and wonderful statues, spectacular displays and an enormous party. There’s no way not to get swept up in all the excitement and, best of all, it’s completely free!

As Las Fallas approaches, it’s impossible to miss the giant papier-mâché figures which can found throughout the city, known as ninots. These colourful statues can be up to 20 feet tall and range from satirical representations of politicians and celebrities to romantic and comedic scenes – they’re bawdy and perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but you cannot deny the amount of work and love which has gone into creating each one. Some are playful, others are grotesque, but they’re all beautifully made and have taken the whole year to craft – some cost in excess of 100,000 Euros!

The ninots must be finished by the first day of the festival, when they are paraded through the streets before being gathered together in groups for the public to admire – these collections of ninots are known as fallas. To see some of the more elaborate fallas, we recommend you visit the barrios of Ruzafa, El Carmen and Plaza del Ayuntamiento – don’t forget your camera!

There’s a reason why Las Fallas is known as one of the noisiest festivals in Spain. Every day from the 1st March, the sound of firecrackers explodes through the Plaza del Ayuntamiento at 2pm - an event known as la Mascleta. The firecrackers shake the ground for up to 10 minutes, creating an ear-splitting auditory experience. And if you haven’t quite had your fill of explosions after that, there’s also a daily firework display by the Turía Gardens during the week of the festival.

Of course, no festival would be complete without some fantastic food and Las Fallas certainly delivers here. Numerous street food fairs dot the city, serving up generous and delicious portions of paella, grilled seafood, ribs, tapas and much more. If you have a sweet tooth, there are many mobile corner kiosks serving sugary favourites such as churros. You can also sample Buñuelos; golden-brown fried pumpkin fritters mostly enjoyed during Las Fallas.

If you want something to admire while you eat, don’t miss the spectacular light show which takes place in the Ruzafa district of Valencia throughout Las Fallas.  The streets of Calle Sueca and Puerto Rico come alive with thousands of twinkling lights, lasting for kilometres and set to music.

Another important event is the Ofrenda de Flores a la Virgen de los Desamparados. During this beautiful ceremony, Falleras gather from every corner of Valencis state. Dressed in breathtaking, elaborate traditional multi-layered costumes that can cost thousands of Euros, the women make their way through the streets, dancing to their neighbourhood or village bands. Once they’re ready, the Falleras make their way to the Plaza de la Virgen to offer bouquets to the giant image of the Virgin. It’s a real privilege to be chosen to fill this position, bringing prestige and status to both the women and their family.

At the end of the week, celebrations draw to a close with the spectacular Nit del Foc (“Night of Fire”). This stunning firework display takes place in the Paseo de la Alameda and is followed by street parties which run late into the night. On the same night, all the fallas are burned in what is known as La Cremà (“the burning”). Only one ninot, chosen by the public, is spared and placed on display in the local Fallas Museum alongside past favourites.

Of course, after all this celebration you may be eager to sit back and enjoy some peace and quiet. Our two beautiful villas at Javea are nestled in a beautiful valley of orange, olive and almond tree groves… the perfect place to relax and recover after all the excitement! Find out more about how you can stay in one of these wonderful properties here.

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Katy Peck

Katy Peck

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