Vlogging to you live, from Las Fallas Valencia! After tons of paella, grilled brochettes, sangria, and FIRE…my camera and I made it out alive.
Wanna know more?
Las Fallas, or literally “the fire torch” dates way, wayyyy back to the 18th century. Remember when I mentioned “carpenters” in the video? Well, that’s because it was the carpenters who started it. Every March 19th, Valencia’s carpenters would pile into the streets baring all of their unused materials from winter, and burn them in honor of St. Joseph’s Day. This makes complete sense, as St. Joseph was the patron saint of carpentry! (Yes, there’s truly a patron saint for everything…)
The good people of Valencia supported the city’s carpenters, and as the years progressed, so did the flooding amount of party people in the streets. And things on fire. Many of the superstitious also believed that by burning their old, dusty, unused materials from the winter, they were cleansing for the Spring. Just like our version of spring cleaning…right?
The “Mascleta.” Or as we would call it, a really loud daytime fireworks display. It goes down every afternoon at 2 PM, and lasts no longer than 10 minutes. Why? Because it’s said to be far too dangerous for such an ear blistering sound to last for longer. In fact, they tell the people in the streets to keep their mouths open, to prevent ears from popping…and even going DEAF (dramatic gasp!!) Be there, or be [not in the city centre] square.
So, what’s with the “ninots”? These towering satirical caricatures cover every main street corner and square of the city between March 15th-19th. They are made of papier-mâché. Why? Because they are made to burn. That’s right. Today’s modern “fallas” carpenters spend nearly the entire year building these wild looking monstrosities, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Or millions. The smallest of fallas cost an average of $300,000. And the big mama’s in the main plazas…. Over 1 MILLION. To publicly burn to shreds.
Crema Night (The “Night of Fire”): March 19th. The night you’ve all been waiting for. Bye Bye ninots. And millions of dollars. Hellloooooo FIREEE.