If it’s your first time attending the Fallas festival then you’re in for a treat! We’ve lived in Valencia for five years and this is one of the many Valencian traditions that we STILL get very excited about! The Fallas Festival is one of the biggest events in Valencia. Every year tourists from all over the world flock to this amazing city to experience and celebrate two weeks of fireworks, art and culture.
What Is The Fallas Festival?
The Fallas is a long time Valencian tradition that dates as far back as the Middle Ages when artisans disposed of the broken artefacts and pieces of wood they saved during the winter by burning them to celebrate the start of spring.
Over the years the tradition has continued to evolve. These days artists from many communities of Valencia create ‘paper mâché’ structures called ‘Ninots’ that can stand up to 50 feet high! The ‘ninots’ are usually satirical of nature and make humorous innuendoes about local, national or international events or personalities from the past year.
What Happens During The Fallas?
From the 1st to the 19th of March of every year, gunpowder, parties, paellas, fire and music take precedence over the city, towns and villages. So if it’s noise, fireworks and celebrations that you’re looking for then the Fallas Festival is for you. This is the time of year where Valencians celebrate the end of winter by creating enormous effigies usually with a satire theme which are then displayed and shown all over the city.
Make Your Ears Ring By Attending The Mascleta
If it is a quiet and relaxing break that you’re looking for then I would advise avoiding Valencia at this time of year. Every day at 14:00 pm you can see and listen to the Mascleta in the Plaza De Ayuntamiento (Town Square). This 5 whole minutes of ear rattling set of explosions and smoke is not for the faint-hearted. Make sure that you get there early as it gets very busy! I would advise snagging a place by the Ayuntamiento two hours before to get the best view and enjoy the whole experience.
Visit The Ninot Exhibition
Until March the 14th of March you can visit the Exhibition of the Ninots, where you will be able to see all the ‘ninots’ that the towns of Valencia have created. A ‘ninot’ will then chosen to be spared from the fire (Cremà) and shown forevermore in the Museo Fallero.
Do Not Miss The Plantà
Plantà which literally means ‘planted’. On the 15th of March, all the ‘ninots’ are planted all over the city, ready for the public to see. Every neighbourhood and streets are filled with these impressive monuments or all colours, shapes and sizes. Most are dedicated to satirical humour. You can see them during the day or go in the evening if you want something quieter. I would recommend viewing the ones around the Town Hall they are usually the most impressive.
See The Offering Of The Flowers
Probably the most traditional moments of the Fallas is the offering of the flowers to the Virgen De Los Desamparados. On the evening of the 17th and the 18th of March Falleras from every town in Valencia dressed in a typical Valencian costume carry floral offerings to the Virgin placed on the Plaza de la Virgen. This event is a must see and showcases an incredible display of colours and tradition.
Celebrate The Night Of Fire (La Nit De Foc)
La Gran Nit del Foc is one of the main and lively events that marks the end of the Fallas, which usually takes place on the evening of March 18th in the Paseo de la Alameda. This show of dazzling fireworks display takes place during the dawn of March 19th leading up to an earth shattering end. Make sure you take your place early as it can get VERY busy! The best spot to see this marvellous show of colours and sound is by the edge of the river Turia.
Party Away In A Verbena
Parties during the Fallas in Valencia is obligatory. If you thought the ‘ninots’, mascletà, and the offering of flowers was more than enough, then you haven’t seen anything yet. A ‘verbena’ is held in the Paseo de la Alameda between the 15th to the 19th of March. This mother of all parties usually involves food, music, dancing and more fireworks! The only challenge you will face is whether you can keep up with the Valencians until the early hours of the morning!
The cremà is a very unique and impressive show of fire and it’s an event that you have to see at least once in your life. Now that the winning ninots have been chosen, the rest of them will be burnt in the cremà. They usually start with the smallest at 22:00 pm and build up to the last and biggest one at midnight. If you plan your itinerary well you maybe be able to witness the destruction of these impressive monuments. It is a shame to watch them burn but this is what the Fallas is all about.
The Fallas is simply one of the most impressive festivals in Spain. With the festival starting from the 1st to the 19th of March, there’s plenty of time to plan your visit. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and enjoy this amazing festival that the Valencians are very proud of!