Have you ever seen the Fallas closely? Get ready to go on a trip to one of Spain’s most popular festivals, a show of fireworks, pyrotechnics, and tradition. Live the unique experience of renting a car for the Fallas and traveling with your friends to Valencia.
What is the origin of the Fallas of Valencia?
Every March, Valencia and its surroundings live 5 intense days of celebration with the smell of gunpowder and Mediterranean flavor that welcomes summer, where the protagonists are the ninots, gunpowder, fires and fun. Are you ready? The Fallas begin.
The tradition goes back to the guild of the carpenters, who celebrated the day of Saint Joseph, their patron saint, lighting bonfires in which they burned the leftovers of their workshops to have them cleansed before the start of the spring season, a ritual that gave rise to the "cremà" . In the old days, the festival consisted in making pyres of flammable materials that burned on the eve of March 19 to give way to the new season, but over time recreation of figures and burlesque scenes took over.
For years, pagan traditions such as the Fallas or the Carnivals were banned in Spain; far from disappearing, the population extolled them and in Valencia people worked hard to recover the event, rewarding the most laborious or crafty sculptures, and thus began to emerge the figures of the ninots (“dolls” in Valencian).
What are Fallas?
For several days, the streets of Valencia become an open-air museum, where more than 800 wooden and cardboard fallas are exhibited, representing well-known personalities or satirical recreations of events that have taken place in the last months. These “ninots” are put to a public vote and the most voted is saved from the stake and can be visited at the “Museo Fallero de Valencia”, where you can see the collection of “ninots indultats” (pardoned ninots) since 1934. The rest of the ninots will burn in the “cremá” of March 19 as the finale to Las Fallas.
During the Fallas, women dress for the occasion with the traditional fallera costume, this was the costume used by the Valencian peasant women for special occasions since the sixteenth century. Their particular hairstyle is a laborious arrangement that has become a symbol of the fallas, formed of buns held by combs, which remind us of the Lady of Elche. The most fortunate fallera will become “La Fallera Mayor”, the festival’s ambassador, who is elected by the Fallera Commission and attends all the events.
If you go to Valencia to see the Fallas, you cannot miss the “mascletá” show, which is held every day, from March 1 to Saint Joseph’s day, at 2:00 p.m. This pyrotechnic show invades the streets of Valencia with the sound of firecrackers and their characteristic smell of gunpowder. Another tradition of the Fallas of Valencia is L’ofrena (the offering), in which each fallera offers a flower bouquet to the Virgen de los Desamparados (“Our Lady of the Forsaken”), forming a spectacular flower mantle made of interweaving bouquets, which covers the body of the Virgin with breathtaking color schemes.
Fallas de Valencia Driving Route: what to see in this city
In addition to this great festival, Valencia offers many opportunities to enjoy the city. Here are some recommendations:
- The City of Arts and Sciences: a whole universe to enjoy with children, here you will find the oceanographic, the planetarium and different scientific exhibitions. For architecture lovers, the works of Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela are a must.
- Plaza de la Virgen and Cathedral: Did you know that in the Cathedral of Valencia there is a chalice that in several books is identified as the Holy Grail? Discover this legend!
- Lonja de la Seda: this fabric was the Valencian industry’s main product several centuries ago and the market where it was sold is a Gothic building of great beauty, declared a World Heritage Site.
- Albufera Natural Park: bring your binoculars and observe the dozens of birds that nest near the sea. The landscape is spectacular and also good food can be found in the area.
Surely you're looking forward to go on a trip to the fallas of Valencia!