Las Fallas: The Festival of Fire

 

Las Fallas
Valencia, Spain
March 15-19, 2012

Imagine a shimmering night sky not only lit up by the backdrop of evening stars, but a fiesta of fires. Where hundreds of ninots (“puppets” or “dolls”), are all set ablaze…simultaneously!  These massive cardboard, wooden, paper-machè and plaster statues, whcan stand several stories high are composed of whimsical figures. The ninots are truly one of a kind, which can take painters, sculptors and artisans almost an entire year to complete in addition to costing up to $75,000.00 to construct. Las Fallas, meaning “the fires”, is unlike any other celebration in the world, and can be considered an artist’s wildest dream or their worst nightmare; once given the opportunity to create such beautiful monuments only to watch these spectacular creations go up in flames. But this is a tradition that dates back to 16th century Spain. The origins of Las Fallas is still up for debate, but it is believe that the Valencian tradition is in celebration of Saint Joseph – with a deep rooted history that goes far beyond the massive bond-fire. The two week long celebration leading up to March 19th, the day known as La Cremá (the burning), is as unforgettable as the main event.  The end result? An indescribable experience that you have to see to believe!

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, March 14

  • 2pm. Mascleta (Plaza del Ayuntamiento).
  • 6pm. Closing ceremony of the Ninot Infantil Exhibition.

Thursday, March 15

  • 8am. Setting up (la Planta) of all the children’s fallas.
  • 2pm. Mascleta (Plaza del Ayuntamiento).
  • 6pm. Closing ceremony of the Ninot Exhibition.
  • 12pm. Setting up (la Planta) of all the Fallas.
  • 1:30am. Firework display (Paseo de la Alameda).

Friday, March 16

  • 2pm. Mascleta (Plaza del Ayuntamiento).
  • 4:30pm. Children’s Fallas Award Ceremony.
  • 10:30pm. Cabalgata Folklórica (procession with examples of regional festivals).
  • 1:30am. Firework display (Paseo de la Alameda).

Saturday, March 17

  • 9:30am. Fallas Award Ceremony.
  • 2pm. Mascleta (Plaza del Ayuntamiento).
  • 16:00pm. Floral offering to Virgen de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Forsaken).
  • 1:30am. Firework display (Paseo de la Alameda).

Sunday, March 18

  • 11am. Mascleta (Plaza del Ayuntamiento). Tribute to the poet Maximiliano Thous (Calle Sagunto).
  • 12pm. Mascleta (Plaza del Ayuntamiento). Tribute to Maestro Serrano (Avenida Reino de Valencia).
  • 2pm. Mascleta (Plaza del Ayuntamiento).
  • 16pm. Floral offering to Virgen de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Forsaken).
  • 2:00am. Firework display (Paseo de la Alameda).

Monday, March 19

  • 11am. Floral offering to St. Joseph (St. Joseph Bridge).
  • 12pm. Solemn Mass to honour St Joseph the Patriarch (The Cathedral).
  • 2pm. Mascleta (Plaza del Ayuntamiento).
  • 19pm. Procession of Fire (from Calle Ruzafa, Calle Colon, to end in Porta de la Mar).
  • 22pm. Crema (Burning) of the children’s Fallas.
  • 22:30pm. Crema (Burning) of the children’s Falla awarded first prize in the Special Section.
  • 23pm. Crema (Burning) of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento children’s Falla.
  • 00am. Crema (Burning) of all the Fallas of Valencia.
  • 00:30am. Crema (Burning) of the Falla awarded first prize in the Special Section.
  • 1am. Firework display (Plaza del Ayuntamiento).

Tour packages start at 850USD/78,000JPY.
For inquiries, please send an e-mail to aiyana@gardner-mathews.com

Photo Credit: http://www.metro.co.uk, http://gaurdian.co.uk
Writer: Michaela Franklin

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President Obama as Superman and First Lady Michelle as herself.

Fallas set afire.

Bullfighter at Las Fallas Festival

Traditional Falleria with intricate hair decor.

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