Thursday, March 22, 2012

City on Fire: Las Fallas

This past weekend I was lucky to check off another item of my Spain bucket list: going to Las Fallas. The valeciano celebration was the first major Spanish fiesta I have been to and I was really nervous. I feel like I can tough it out under most traveling circumstances but lots of drunk people, firecrackers, and fire sounded like a potential recipe for disaster. But I loved it! On Friday I loaded my bag into my co-worker Eva's car and headed down to Valencia. As we headed out of the metro into the center of the city 5 hours later, the wafting scent of pumpkin buñuelos and sound of firecrackers greeted me. I couldn't wait to see the massive statue-like fallas hidden around every corner of the city. 

The first falla I saw!
Las Fallas is a Valencian celebration that commemorates St. Joseph (as in Mary and Joseph). Neighborhood clubs or casal fallers all around Valencia hold fundraisers all throughout the year to raise money and create the fallas that are placed all over the city. The fallas are generally satirical, poking fun at everything from celebrities to political figures to Spanish expressions to Cristiano Ronaldo. I was shocked and delighted at the amount of detail and money (the winner cost 400,000 euros) that goes into each and every one. 

For me the most interesting thing was the contrast between a Christian ceremonies like the women falleras and men falleros bringing thousands upon thousands of flower bouquets to la  virgin for her opulant cape and decorations and almost pagan parades/fire obsession. The Valencian virgen's cape took 3 days to complete and was absolutely astounding. 
Las falleras bringing their flowers to the virgen

In all her glory on the last day
And yet after seeing that awesome cape of flowers, we went to another parade that had people dancing around in devil costumes and trying as hard as they could to light the crowd on fire. WTF Spain? 

But I digress. What is the point of this entire ceremony with its beauty, intrigue, and murky Christian origins? To burn it all to the ground of course! Every falla is thrown up into flames except for the winner and boy is it fun/terrifying to watch. 
Here we go!

Viva las Fallas!


  1. Me encanta!!! Me ha emocionado leerlo, me alegro de que te haya gustado tanto. Aun queda mucho año y muchas más fiestas... San Fermines, Pilares y la que se nos ponga por delante!!! Un besazo compi!

  2. Yayyyy! A mi me encanta que has comentado en mi blog...que guay! Y a los san fermines no puedo esperar!! Un besote guapa!

  3. Hi Jessica... loved your blog. I wish to connect with you for a travel story for my magazine Travel Chronicles. How do we connect?