Las Fallas de Valencia March 2020 — Firecracks (with Giants)

Valencia, Spain Start Date: 14/03/2020 End Date: 19/03/2020

Las Fallas de Valencia

Was Pinocchio your favorite fairytale as a child? If it was or even if it wasn’t, you’ll be amazed by the Spanish fiesta of Las Fallas de Valencia.

See the ‘Event Extras‘ for the trip info

 

Giants and Fire at Las Fallas de Valencia

The fantastic Las Fallas de Valencia celebrations begin officially on the 1st of March with various cultural and pyrotechnic displays around the town,

but the main events are from the 14th to the 20th of March 2020, when gigantic mannequins take over the city streets for four full days to mark the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring.

The festival Las Fallas de Valencia is the combined result of hard work and commitment by a group of artisan craft workers, Los Falleros. The Los Falleros dedicate twelve full months of concentrated labour to produce the spectacular giant-sized figures, ninots, which are the trademark of the fiesta.

The enormous, caricature featured, doll-like figures can measure anywhere up to a staggering ten metres or more in height. As with most carnival-style celebrations, the artists don’t miss the chance of poking fun at well-known personalities or making innuendos about topical political subjects.

Big Bang

From the 15th of March until the 19th  it’s time to get your earplugs ready because when Valencia decides winter is over, well, winter is over and there’ll be no more hibernating.

To make sure the town is wide awake and ready for the upcoming festival, a Mascleta or daytime firecracker display, worthy of any Chinese new year party, occurs every afternoon at two o’clock on the dot.

The Mascleta is an important opportunity for the pyrotechnic to exhibit his skill. In preparation for the daily display, the plaza in front of the city’s council offices is rigged with a complex cobweb of strings on which the firecrackers are hung.

With clockwork precision, the explosions from the firecrackers are timed to give off a rhythmic noise which ends in an ear-splitting crescendo.

Do the big bangs end there? Not a chance. Valencia still has a lot more gunpowder in its pockets:

Nights of Fire

When there’s a fiesta going on, Valencia doesn’t believe in sleeping. For two consecutive evenings, the 18th and 19th of March, the skies above the city are illuminated by extraordinary firework displays.

You’ll need to be a night owl to see them as they don’t start until around one thirty in the morning, but it’s worth it when the thousands of kilos of fireworks converge in a display equal to Sydney, Australia’s new year’s eve celebration.

If your in Spain around April you might want to check the National Cheese Festival and the Seville April Fair.

 

The Next Big Bang

The day of the 15th of March begins with a big bang. A chupinazo or battery of firecrackers signals the official start of the main Las Fallas de Valencia celebrations.

To be eligible for the ninots competition and to be included in the judging to have their figure saved from the bonfire, the Los Falleros must have their ninot complete, intact and on show in its designated place before the chupinazo sounds.

Sounds simple enough, but la planta or setting down is a complicated procedure which takes place overnight and involves some major heavy lifting gear.

The figures, piled one on one, sky high, are an awe-inspiring monumental display of colorful artwork and unimaginable equilibrium. It’s incredible, but a little sad. In reality, la planta is the preparation of the funeral pyre for the figures as the sole purpose of their construction is their cremation in the final spectacular of the fiesta.

  • As well as being renowned for the incredible amount of fireworks which are used during the festivities, the fiesta de Las Fallas is famous for its three amazing and completely distinct parades.

 

Cabalgata de Ninots

In true carnival-style, Valencia takes to the streets in one of Spain’s most colorful processions, the Cabalgata de Ninots. While the Los Falleros favor ornate costumes which are historical replicas of past fashion in Valencia, the rest of the participants ire on the side of diversion and you’ll likely to notice that basically, anything goes.

Floats, troupes of dancers and smaller, portable ninots follow a designated route through the city accompanied by marching bands and rousing cheers from the crowds lining the pavements.

 

Flowers for the Virgin

This a real ladies day. Female Falleras, from all over Valencia and the outlying areas, pay a floral tribute to Valencia’s patron saint the Virgin de los Desamparados or Virgin of the Homeless.

Dressed in their finest costumes, the Falleras carrying bouquets, parade through the streets to a plaza where a framework carrying an image of the Virgin has been installed.

Men dangle precariously from the wooden structure, which towers around twenty metres high, waiting for the flowers to be thrown up to them so they can place them in a designated pattern to create a complex and stunning work of art.

 

Parade of Fire

You may be starting to notice that Valencia never seems to get its fill of fireworks. They really are an integral part of the Las Fallas celebration. Preceding the demise of the ninots by fire, is the mega extravaganza of sound and color the Parade of Fire.

Once again Valencia takes to the streets to scare off the last vestiges of winter with an explosive and rumbustious exhibition. Sparks and flames fly everywhere from floats decorated with everything from fire breathing dragons to smoking turtles interspersed with numerous dance troupes carrying burning catherine wheels on long poles.

 

Ninots Bonfire

Even the best and lengthiest of parties must come to an end and the Las Fallas celebration does it in true style. It’s time to stand well back as torches light the pyres of the ninots.

Flames engulf the figures as they turn into billowing bonfires emitting smoke and heat until there’s nothing remaining but charred frameworks and piles of ashes.

 

So Why Las Fallas de Valencia?

If you love fireworks and bonfires, you won’t want to miss the fiesta Las Fallas de Valencia. It’s an amazingly explosive and colorful celebration of tradition and religion.

Completely unique, its enormous trademark mannequins, the outstanding creations of Valencian craft workers, will leave you wondering if you really did see them or just imagined them as they disappear consumed by flames.

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