Las Fallas  A Valencian Festival

Las Fallas

Every year, in Valencia, there is a very important festival called Las Fallas (The Fires).  It is a celebration in honour of San José (Saint Joseph). 

Officially, the celebration runs from the 15 to the 19 March which is Saint Joseph's day - el día de San José.  These five days are also known as
 
La Semana Fallera

 

In each area of Valencia there is a group of people known as un casal faller.  Each group spends the whole year secretly creating enormous 'dolls' called ninots - made from wood, cardboard and wax.  Each ninot is only revealed at the beginning of the festival on 15 March when they are positioned like monuments in the streets.  This important moment of revealing and positioning the ninot is called La Plantá.

There are hundreds of ninots displayed in the streets all over Valencia, and some of them are as tall as multi-storey buildings!  They are beautifully painted and decorated.


Wikimedia Commons

Why are the ninots kept hidden during their construction?
There is a competition with awards for the ninots judged to be the best.  So, it is important that ideas are not copied


During the five days of Las Fallas, the Valencian people celebrate continually from morning until night.  There are parties, fireworks known as mascletás, processions and music.  Traditional costumes are worn.

Wikimedia Commons

On the last night of the festivities (the 19 March) the people set fire to the 'dolls'.  This night is called La Nit del Foc, meaning 'The Night of Fire.'  The act of burning the huge dolls is called la cremá.  The fire brigade is always involved in the event to keep the people safe as it is very dangerous!  No wonder the festival is named Las Fallas - meaning 'the fires!'


Photo by Pere Quintana Segui

There are even smaller ninots especially created for children.  These are called fallas infantiles

Every year, the ninot that is voted to be the best is saved from being burned and is placed in the Ninot Museum.

Below is the poster, advertising Las Fallas for the year 2008.

Valencia

 

Image above from ayto-valencia.com, website of
El Ayuntamiento de Valencia. Past posters and full details of Las Fallas can be found here.

 


 

 

 

 
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