The many aspects of Fallas in Valencia
Ah, Fallas. Named a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016, the festival has gotten even more popular in recent years. This year, since the two of the four main days fell on a weekend, it was particularly busy this year.
Though - or maybe because - a ton of visitors come into town, most of my friends and acquaintances skipped town for Fallas. I can understand, since it's sometimes hard to navigate the streets with so many people, and by the end of the festival they're covered in trash and pee.
BUT, I myself quite enjoy the Fallas. Every year I enjoy seeing the new designs of the monuments.
There's always political commentary too, and every year the topics change somewhat.
Then there's the daily mascleta firecracker show in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. It's not so much visual, but aural, and corporal. The closer you get, the more vibrations you feel through your body!
And then there's the two-day procession of the Ofrenda, making the offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary.
The falleras toss the flowers up to the guys who make the floral coat.
And here it is completed!
The lights of Ruzafa aren't something that I actually seek out usually, because here it really does get super crowded. But this year I was walking around the area, looking at the monument of Cuba-Literato Azorín, and the announcer got on the PA and said that they would start the light show an hour early so more people could see it. What luck! This year their theme was "kaleidoscope," and the light show - lights moving in relation to music - was indeed quite impressive.
Besides the daily mascleta, there were also fireworks shows in the Turia park for three of the four nights of Fallas, culminating in the Nit de Foc (Night of Fire).
My favorite event, though, is the fourth and final night of the Fallas, the Crema. That's when the monuments are burned, starting with a firecracker and fireworks show.
With a string of firecrackers leading up to the Falla, which then ignites and goes up in flames.
For the main, larger Fallas, there are firefighters on hand to half put out the flames half protect the surrounding buildings and trees from igniting. They kind of "water" the buildings like plants, to keep them cool I guess. Still, I feel like the surrounding buildings must get a lot of stress every year from the heat and smoke!
This year's municipal Falla in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento was designed by the Spanish artist Okuda, whose signature are these rainbow-colored facets.
The Crema was really pretty, starting with a more elaborate fireworks show.
Since this Falla was made out of wood, instead of the more typical styrofoam (which seems quite unhealthy, being burnt), there were really beautiful glowing embers suspended in the air.
So I was happy that I stayed in town for the Fallas. There's always so much to see and do!