Valencia, a city near to Murcia in Spain, annually hosts Las Fallas – a celebration of the beginning of Spring. The festival revolves around the Feast of St. Joseph and is celebrated with fires and pyrotechnics. Ninots, which are massive, papier-mâché figures built throughout the year for this festival, are displayed on street corners all around the city. Each one is unique and often mock political figures, celebrities, and depict movie characters. When 2:00pm rolls around each day, fireworks are lit in a loud and intense tradition called la Mascleta. The firecrackers at this event are so loud, it is advised that spectators keep their mouths wide open to allow the acoustics to pass through. Some spectators have been known to pass out due to the intensity of this daily event.
Quieter ceremonies are showcased through the streets of Valencia each day, as Falleras and Falleros from all areas of the Valencia state walk the streets in vibrant, intricately detailed, traditional dress. They flood towards the Plaza de la Virgen to offer their boquets of flowers during the Ofrenda de Flores a la Virgen de los Desamparados. The evening we spent in Valencia, we got to see an amazing fireworks spectacle over the river. These grand fireworks are held on the last two nights of Las Fallas, in the Paseo de la Alameda. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stay for the final Sunday’s burning of the ninots. Each year, a winning ninot is chosen and the others are burned in the city streets. Valencia is said to resemble Nero’s Rome – a city in flames, as the festival comes to and end and the winning ninot is the only one which remains.
We spent the morning checking out all the amazing ninots together before meeting with a group of friends from school. Parades went on throughout the city during the day as locals and visitors covered the streets, which were closed off for pedestrian use only. We picked up some traditional neck scarves, typical to wear during Las Fallas, which made for a great keepsake. We love partaking in all the interesting events and customs this country has to offer!