Valencia and Las Fallas

8:57:00 PM Unknown 0 Comments

Las Fallas is a festival celebrating fire in all it's forms, mostly the noisy ones...FiRe CrAcKErS!  I was on edge the entire time because you never knew when a passing teenager was going to throw an M80 your way.  The whole city turns out for these ridiculously loud bomb celebrations called mascaleta's standing shoulder to shoulder all in honor of noise.

As part of the celebration each neighborhood builds paper mache statues called ninots that are judged then burned at the end of the week.  Some are big, others are small.  Often they have some sort of message behind them, whether is be satirical, political or social.  Some are thought provoking and others are just fun, like the Mad Hatter.

The Details
     Accommodation: Barcelo Valencia
                                  Avenida Francia, 11, 46023 Valencia
     Time: 3 days
     Location: Events are all over town. Maps are distributed noting the locations of mascaleta's, neighborhood ninots and other celebrations.
     Cost: All outdoor events are free. These include the Parade of Fire, daily mascaleta's, nightly fire works, and the Parade of Flowers to the Virgin.
     Tip:  Earplugs!
     Tip:  Ask your hotel what normal eating hours are.  We had the toughest time getting served at sit down restaurants.  We either arrived to early, to late, or after all tables had been filled.  We found restaurants were NOT accommodating if you weren't sitting at the prescribed hour.  We ended up eating a lot of take-away food like sandwiches and croissants.

Women from the surrounding areas dress in traditional clothing and parade through town to deliver flowers to the gigantic Mary statue whose dress is completely made with flowers.  Men work on her around the clock and when she is complete she is absolutely gorgeous.

Each night we went to the park for an amazing fireworks display and on the last day we attended the parade of fire where they have these huge sparkler type machines that spit out sparks everywhere.  Can I just say, this would never be allowed in the USA for fear of litigation!  Arrive early if you don't want to stand the entire time.  However, if you are afraid of sparks, you probably don't want to be sitting on the curb.  

The last night of the festival really is a grand finale because after the parade of fire they light all the ninots on fire.  Everyone scatters to their ninot of choice to witness its destruction and again can I just say, CA-RA-ZY!  I can't believe how close you are allowed to get, I mean if it weren't for the heat you could stand as close as 10 feet to the burning inferno.  In one small plaza a fire truck was spraying water on the adjacent apartment building to keep it from burning--that's how big the ninots can be, how small the plazas are and how NUTS the whole celebration is.     

We took in a bull fight which I didn't enjoy at all, but now I can say I've seen one and never have to go again.  Aside from that, it was a fantastic trip...truly unique and local.