The Fallas

?We attended the first two events of the Fallas so it is time to explain what the Fallas is all about.

Fireworks display at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento

The Falles (in Valencian) or Fallas in Spanish is a celebration originally in praise of Joseph, the husband of Mary, but that was then and it has grown into quite the bash. 

Falles refers to both the festival and the floats -fallas- made for the celebration.  While much of the to do is about these, there is also the selection of a Queen, tons of fireworks and firecrackers both of which emphasize the noise, which as we found out last night, can vibrate every bone in your body.  This is also about just general frolicking about.  And last but not least, there are the Ninots (dolls in Valencian).   These are placed on fancy monuments stuffed with firecracker filled cardboard and papier-maiche.  This whole assembly is a falla.  Crews of artists and craftsmen take several months to create the fallas, which can be up to 5 stories tall.  They use paper, wax, wood, styrofoam and other materials.  The satirized figures are outrageouwsly presented often in positions that defy the law of gravity.

Each neighborhood has a Casal faller, a group that raises funds, usually dinners featuring paella. Each make a falla which are burned at the end of the festival.  The fallas and ninots bear themes developed in common amongst all the casal fallers each year, satirizing various public figures.

People dress in folkloric costumes and musicians play traditional instruments.  One is called a dolcaina, which is a small horn with a medieval sound to it.  It is in the oboe family.  They also play a drum called a tabalet.  Most of the fallers have their own band.

There are processions too,  both historical and religious, as well as those dedicated to humor.

The streets are littered with the debris of firecrackers called bangers because they have no fuse but explode upon contact with the ground.  Booms echo through the old town especially, lasting all day and all night for the entire week, which is March 14-19 this year.

Each day starts very early with bands activating the Desperta, the wake up call at 5 am.  Since no one has slept much, why would they want to do this?  Well, they do.  Want a siesta?  Don’t stay near the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.  Every day at two they will jar your bones with a fireworks display- again, the visual effects are secondary in importance.

At night on  15-18 of March you can enjoy firework displays in the old riverbed in Valencia. Since we live two minutes away, we have to enjoy them.  Each night is more impressive than the last, which is called La Nit del Foc, the night of fire.

This entry was posted in Gary's posts, Valencia, 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

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