The Falles is a celebration that takes place in commemoration of Saint Joseph. The festival happens in the Spanish city of Valencia. The name is resembling of both the festival and the monuments. The falles week lasts from the fifteenth to the nineteenth of March.
Origins of The Falles
The origins of the festival trace back to old carpenters’ traditions who, when celebrating the arrival of spring, on the nineteenth of March have used to burn pieces of wood that had used to prop up their lights during winter. This burning has done in the form of a bonfire, to which gradually other items started getting added. These items mostly included old belongings and rags, which then gave the structure a human-looking aspect. These structures then started to be referred to as ninots (puppets).
The celebrations since then have evolved into temporary works of art which, sometimes, cost millions of euros.
Events during The Falles
Each neighborhood of the city has an organized a group called the Casal faller that constructs a falla which has eventually burned. A falla comprises of a ninot mounted on a firecracker filled cardboard and paper Mache artistic monument. These ninots and falas are constructed based upon a theme that has been agreed upon and tends to be a satirical jab at whatever draws the attention of the participants.
The five days and five nights of the festival are rife with many festivities, ranging from processions and bursting of firecrackers.
La Desperta – The Falles
Each day begins with the wakeup call or La Desperta at 8 AM. Bands from the Casals begin to march while playing music. The fallers follow them while throwing large firecrackers in the streets as they go.
This event takes place at 2 in the afternoon every day. La Mascleta is an explosive barrage of coordinated firecracker and fireworks display. The pyrotechnicians compete for the honor of providing the final Mascleta on the last day of the festivities.
A nigh time variant of this runs in the evening hours as well. This is also a televised event.
On the fifteenth, all of the falles are to be completed, and if not, they are disqualified.
L’Ofrena de flors
Each of the Casals fallers takes an offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary. This event takes place all day on the seventeenth and the eighteenth of March.
Cavalcade del Foc
On the final evening of the festival, a parade known as the fire parade takes place at 7 PM on the nineteenth of March. This event is considered to be the grand finale of the festival. It is a colorful, noisy event that features exhibitions of the different displays from around the world that use fire. It also incorporates floats, giant mechanisms, people in costumes, street performances, and music.
The traditional costume for men used to be an all-black ensemble, which since then, has evolved into a more exciting variant with many decorations. The dresses worn by females can often be costly and are accompanied by traditional hairstyles and jewelry.
Also read, Dia de Muertos.