Las Fallas – Valencia, Spain – Travel Photography

March 25, 2011

The Spanish will take any opportunity to party and Las Fallas in Valencia has to be my favorite festival, at least so far.  The celebration lasts 10 days or so, ending on March 19th.  March 19th is Saint Joseph´s Day, the saint of all fathers, and so it is Father´s Day here in Spain.  Las Fallas is also a celebration to welcome the Spring Equinox.  Originally, people threw out all of their old useless stuff into the street and burned it, to “throw out the old and welcome in the new.”  Now, throughout the whole previous year, huge elaborate statues are made and then the weekend before Fathers Day, they put them up all over the city.  And boy do I mean huge, and elaborate.  I remember last year being blown away at how amazing the Fallas were. Some of them are seriously the size of the buildings.  You can see our post about last year here.  Everyday leading up to March 19th, the city sets off fireworks, each day getting louder and more impressive.  Plus people are running around throwing poppers and setting off their own fireworks…..its not exactly the safest festival, but eh, whats a party without some danger, right?  Finally, on the night of March 19th, the Fallas are stuffed with fireworks and burned to the ground.  This is known as La Crema.  Last year we went for the beginning of the festival and did not see the burning so this year we decided it was a must.

Having only slept 5 hours the night before, we dragged ourselves onto a bus at 7 in the morning.  Four hours later we arrived in beautiful, sunny, warm Valencia.  Valencia is a wonderful city with beautiful cupcake buildings, wide open streets, trees and a lovely beach with the most silkiest sand Ive ever felt.  Plus, Valencia is where Paella originally comes from.  Delicious!  Its nice to spend time in a city so different than Madrid.  There was a big group of us and we just walked all over the city for hours, finding as many Fallas as we could.  Im not sure what the theme was this year but as youll see many of the artists focus on political and social satire.

Also, throughout the city, there are processions of people dressed in the traditional costume.  The ladies´dresses and hair ornaments are so beautiful and ornate!

The Falla on the left comments on how the government is reducing the speed limit on highways to save on gas consumption (Madrid´s pollution levels are higher than whats allowed by EU standards) and you can see the Lacoste alligator with a sign that says “pijos sueltos” – rich people on the loose!

Lady and the tramp, awww!

A matador and bull.

Every big Falla has an accompanying small Falla for the kids to watch.  This one on the left was my absolute favorite, isnt it adorable?

Teehee, scary old man and a viagra pill.

This matador is sad because he broke his arm….well thats what you get for stabbing a poor bull.

This one got my vote for best!!!!! Isnt it so colorful and pretty and fun! I adore the woman with the rainbow hair and this crazy super hero guy! The next 4 images are of the same Falla, they are so big and complex you definitely have to capture them in parts.

Me and Martin, hah!

This one cracked me up! The rooster is pissed because none of those babies are his, hah!

Finally, around 5:00 we made it to the beach and sat down for lunch…..yes I know lunch at 5:00, totally normal here in Spain.  Obviously we got paella.  I wish I could´ve gotten a picture of the HUGE pan they cook it in, but there wasnt enough room on the table to sit it down so the waiters took our plates to serve us.  Ive had to slowly get over my fear of eating animals with their heads on.  I get really freaked out if I can see my food´s face.  But….everything comes out in its full body so ….Ive had to just get over it!

We had wanted to take a nap after lunch, because we had a long night ahead of us, but the sun was fading fast and it was getting cold so we just walked along the beach a bit.

The group!

We headed back into the center to check out the lights and the markets, and of course, more Fallas.

More ladies in their pretty dresses.

The lights are equally as impressive as the Fallas but unfortunately our energy was wearing thin, and our feetsies were killing us, so walking around was kept at a minimum.

Finally we sat down and waited for a Falla to be lit.

First, they stuff the Falla with fireworks.  Then one of the pretty girls in her pretty dress lights the Falla.  All of the fireworks go off and the Falla catches fire.  The Fallas are made of styrofoam so they burn very fast – and yeah…..not the most environmentally responsible thing.  But it sure is pretty and warm!

About 2 or 3am, I had had enough.  I was cold and tired and cranky and every step I took sent a shot of pain through my body.  But our bus home wasnt until 6.30am.  (I could kill you Jordan for telling Martin not to buy the 3am bus!) So we slowly meandered around a bit more, watching a few others burn.  We found a random bar that was actually open, got some food and coffee and then went to the station to wait.  Las Fallas is super fun, but if you´re going to stay up all night, which is the normal thing to do, make sure you sleep in that morning or fit in a nap!
Martin is a much better writer than me, so be sure to check out his post on our travel blog!
Also, check back here, because Im planning to post a video of the Falla burning!


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