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Las Fallas de València 2022, Spain
March 15 - March 19
This March will see Las Fallas de València return to the third Spanish city having been postponed for the last two years.
The new dates for the festival are 15 to 19 March, meaning the festivities will be somewhat truncated from their traditional 19 days. Celebrations begin with the ‘Crida’ – the opening ceremony where ‘Mayor of Falleras’ encourages citizens and visitors to enjoy the festival. Declared an event of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2016, Las Fallas has returned with traditional acts such as the mascleates (fireworks), late night parties, and art installations where around 800 monuments fill the streets with colour, humor and joy. Every day of the festival is a party, but to experience Las Fallas at its best, visit from 15 – 19 March.
Gunpowder, music and art
One of the most spectacular acts of Las Fallas is the mascletà – Valèncian-style fireworks – which occurs at 2 pm every day until 19 March with a roar of gunpowder. In the evening, guests can visit the Turia Gardens for fireworks at the castle.
On the nights of 15 – 16 March, València begins the planta, the erection of monuments in the streets where 800 works of art are spread across 400 locations in the city. These fallas are classified into different categories according to their complexity, size and originality. The most spectacular are placed in the historic centre – Ciutat Vella – and the neighbourhoods of Ruzafa and Gran Vía. The best way to appreciate the monuments is with a guided tour where a knowledgeable local can highlight the most spectacular sculptures and tell visitors the details and traditions of the festival.
The festival continues with an awards ceremony in which the Fallas artists collect prizes for their masterpieces, as well la ofrenda – the offering – in which the city offers flowers to the Virgen de los Desamparados, the patron saint of València. Festival-goers dress in traditional attire and walk the streets to the beat of local musicians whilst carrying bouquets. The procession ends at the Plaza de la Virgen, where a giant image of the Patron Saint is installed and covered with flowers.
La Cremà – the end and beginning of the festival
With the ‘Cremà’ comes the final act of the Fallas. On 19 March, the sculptures are set aflame in great bonfires that cover the city. The process is carried out in a staggered way, starting at 8pm with smaller statues and 11pm with the larger ones and the winners.
With the bonfires come the finale fireworks, which signal the end of Las Fallas. The old remains are burned away, and the city looks toward the future in a magical ceremony of spring and renewal. Las Fallas is a spectacle that truly is a once and a lifetime experience.
What is Las Fallas de València
The origins of Las Fallas stem from the tradition of carpenters who celebrated the coming of spring by burning the wood (parots) that used to support the lights that they had used during the winter months.
Eventually old rags and clothes were added to the bonfire and these took on a human form, which eventually transformed into the ninots of today’s celebration.
Now works of art are constructed as part of the celebrations, which have taken on a contemporary as well as traditional theme with music, religious ceremonies and naturally Valencia’s most famous dish – paella.
The festival honours San José and features vast papier-mâché sculptures that will be burnt during the Nit de la Cremá.
The origin of Las Fallas
Hundreds of years ago, València’s carpenters would burn old remains from their workshops every 19 March, coinciding with the celebrations of San José, the patron saint of carpenters. This marked the end of winter and gave a warm welcome to spring.
While the festival has changed over the years, Las Fallas has maintained its heritage and traditions. Every 15 March, giant sculptures – which range from large satirical pieces to small representations of everyday scenes – are set aflame in large bonfires. While burning, these authentic pieces of art, created by the guild of Fallas artists, are usually accompanied by musicians, pyrotechnics, costumes and florists.
Elements of Las Fallas
It has not yet been confirmed what the 2021 Las Fallas will consist of, but this is the normal schedule when the festival is held in March – and should give you a rough idea of what to expect.
The ceremonies start with mascletà on 1 March when fireworks are set off each day up to 19 March at 2pm at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
On the evening and night of the 15 March (Plantà), all the 750 sculptures are assembled so that the judges can adjudicate the ninot induldat which will be chosen for burning. On 17 March there is a procession to Plaza del Ayuntamiento where awards are handed out to the winners.
Nocturnal firework displays from 15 March conclude with the Nit del Foc in the early hours of 18 March. On 17 March through to the following day, flowers are offered to the Virgin de los Desamparados, patron saint of Valencia in the Plaza de la Virgen.
Finally, on 19 March all the fallas are burned on 19 March, concluding with the winning falla at 2:30 the following morning.
When Is Las Fallas de València?
Traditionally it is held in March to mark the arrival of spring.
Las Fallas de València
For more details, cat visitvalencia.com. Events are free.
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For inspiration on what to do in Valencia click here. You might also like to read why Valencia is the shining light for Europe, believing that sustainability is vital to the tourism of tomorrow.
All photos provided by Visit Valencia.