Spain is well known for it’s festivals and fiestas and Las Fallas de Valencia is certainly one of the most unique and wild among the popular festivals in Spain.
Las Fallas de Valencia, Spain
Originally Las Fallas began as a feast day for St Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters but over the years has grown into a huge 5 day celebration of fire similar to the Fourth of July. During the festival the usually quiet city of Valencia comes alive with an estimated 3 million revelers.
Building & The Burning of the Ninots
Throughout the year leading up to the festival neighbourhood groups go to great lengths creating massive and fantastically lifelike puppets called Ninots using a mixture of plaster, wood and paper-mache.
Some of the ninots are so huge they need to be moved using cranes and can cost up to 65,000€ to construct. On the day of La Planta ( the rising ) the Ninots are placed at over 350 parks and intersections around the city and remain in place until the day of La Crema ( the burning ) on March 19th. La Crema starts in the early evening when fireworks are placed in hidden holes in the Ninots and as the clock ticks towards midnight the crowds swell.
The street lights are turned off and all the Ninots are set ablaze simultaneously, turning the night sky into an inferno of flame and fireworks. Each year by popular vote one of the Ninots are spared and placed in the Museum of the Ninot along with the other favorites from past years.
Las Fallas de Valencia is not just about the burning of the Ninots, there are loads of other activities during the festival including parades, beauty pageants, paella contests.
The highlight being the daily Mascleta held in the Plaza Ayuntamiento at 2 pm where vast strings of fireworks are set off creating a thunderous sound and literally shaking the floor.