Every year in March, many tourists and people from all over the world gather to Valencia to experience Las Fallas. It is the annual celebration of the arrival of spring and the festivity in commemoration of St. Joseph. The term refers to thousands of people celebrating all over the streets, colourful monumental displays and parades with concerts and loud fireworks everywhere. A falla or monumento fallero is an artistic monument composed of figures called ninots. There are huge “adult” papier-mâché sculptures and smaller “children” versions alongside. During the festival, around 800 of this fallas appear in almost every street in Valencia, every street with its own different monument. People from all around the world come together to feel this extraordinary experience, full of emotions, fun and tradition. The celebrations start at the end of February, where the excitement of the locals can already be felt in the streets: it smells like gunpowder, you can buy typical sweets and hear firecrackers going off everywhere. The main attractions take place from the 15th of March, beginning with the Planta and ending on the 19th of March with the Cremá, the burning of all the giant sculptures.
Everything starts at the 15th of March at with the so-called Planta representing the beginning of the events. It is basically a loud bang that welcomes the Fallas in Valencia. From then on, everyday at 2pm there is the Mascleta at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, where thousands of firecrackers are set off to create a symphony of explosions and a huge cloud of smoke.
Starting on this day until the 19th of March, there will be spectacular fireworks every day after midnight.
Friday morning, the 17th of March, starts with handing over the prizes for different fallas as well as for the best decorations in the streets. In the afternoon the so-called Ofrenda (flower offering) starts and ends one day later in the evening. Basically it describes the walk of the Falleros and Falleras, carrying a bouquet of flowers, along the streets, ending at the Plaza de la Virgen to build a great statue out of flowers. They are dressed in finest traditional Valencian garments to honour the patron saint of Valencia, Our Lady of Forsaken. To enjoy the glorious smells and to admire the spectacular floral display, you should visit Plaza de la Virgen on the 19th of March when it is finished.
Saturday the 18th of March is probably one of the most important days during the festival. In the morning the people from Valencia tribute the poet Maximilia Thous and the master Serrano. This day ends with the very impressing colourful firework called Nit del Foc (meaning Night of Fire) starting at 1.30am and taking place at the Paseo de la Alameda.
On Sunday the 19th of March this whole festival ends at 1.00am at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento with the Cremá (Spanish word for cremation). All the fallas that have been worked on for so long will burn in flames. First the smaller, children fallas start to go up in flames at 10pm and at 11pm it’s time for the big monuments everywhere in the streets. One may still have time to reach the Plaza de Ayuntamiento at 1pm, where the official City Hall falla is the last one to burn, amidst a great fireworks display.
During the Fallas, you should definitely not miss to discover the most impressing elements: streets full of lights and spectacular illuminations. The combination of lights, crowded streets and music results in a breathtaking display, which one can mainly see at the following streets: Calle Sueca, Calle Cuba and Calle Literato Azorin in the district of Ruzafa.
Besides the well-known and very tasty variations of Paella, which you should definitely not miss to try in Valencia, there are a lot of stalls selling Churros and freshly made Buñuelos in the streets. These are delicious sweet fried donuts made with a pumpkin paste, and very typical especially for Las Fallas.
It is hard to describe the festival Las Fallas, because the whole festival has its own individual atmosphere, which you should definitely experience yourself to fully understand the beauty of it!