Compelled by images of Las Fallas, which ended this week, I’m posting my own take on this cacophony of a festival. Its main elements consist of fire, political commentary, and folk tradition. In addition, St. Patrick’s Day falls on the weekend of the festival each year, adding an extra element of party.
Las Fallas, in Valencia, is one of Spain’s most famous festivals, along with Tomatina. Of which the latter involves ripe tomatoes thrown in your face, with joy, of course.
The name, Las Fallas, represents the event, but also the fallas. The paper creations that burn gloriously in the air during the last night, la cremá. With Spain’s current crisis and corruption, each year, more and more of these take on a political critique. You can bet Mariano Rajoy took a bashing this year in las fallas.
In addition, locals take to the street in traditional folk costumes. The parades include all ages and various musical traditions. This is best enjoyed with local wine and paella in hand. After all, this is Spain’s heart of paella tradition. Below, you can see the floral offering to an oversized Saint Mary.
One other note, expect loud noises and fireworks. La despertá is the “wake up call” that sounds each morning at 8. You’ll hear brass bands marching through the street, along with fallers, throwing firecrackers in the air. Later in the day, it’s fireworks time.
If I were to give one recommendation, it would be this, reserve in advance. With reason, Las Fallas is popular and this year brought a mass exodus from Madrid. If not, you may have a similar situation to me, spending the night in your friend’s Ford Fiesta.
¡Espero que la disfrutes!