Las Fallas de Valencia 2014
Las Fallas de Valencia Dates 2014
When: 15th - 19th March, 2014
Where: Valencia, Spain
Take a chunk of medieval history, sprinkle with Mediterranean flavor, and add to it some fun, a bit of frolic and a dash of fireworks. Stir together and tightly pack the ingredients into effigies of papier-mache, wax and wood. Season with a generous helping of oil and flambé! Share with friends and fellowmen!
These ingredients combine to make Las Fallas de Valencia - the main course that's served up at the pyromaniac’s delight, the annual feast of St Joseph, St John and St Anthony held in Valencia, Spain.
It was first cooked up by the medieval guilds, especially the wood workers who swept together spare pieces of wood, shavings and junk into a huge bonfire on the feast day of their patron saint, St Joseph. As the inter-guild competition heated up, passions flared, so did creativity and bonfires now included bizarre effigies (fallas) of despised rivals. And so began a tradition that evolved into the major tourist attraction of Valencia.
How it all began
The idea of Las Fallas de Valencia was first cooked up by the medieval guilds, especially the wood workers who swept up spare pieces of wood, shavings and junk into a huge bonfire on the feast day of their patron saint, St Joseph. As the inter-guild competition heated up, passions flared, so did creativity and bonfires now included bizarre effigies (fallas) of despised rivals. And so began a tradition that evolved into the major tourist attraction of Valencia. In the days of yore, effigies were made of unpopular people or events and strung up across streets and burnt. Today this still happens though the materials used are more sophisticated with these effigies being mounted on floats and platforms which are wheeled in a processions down the city streets.
Celebrations at Las Fallas de Valencia
The five day festival is a carnival of bonfires, fireworks, parades, shows, and other festivities, as it also celebrates the arrival of spring. Every day the day starts at 8 am sharp with a ‘wakeup call or la Desperata as it is called. Bands march down the main streets of the town and firecrackers are burned as peppy music rents the air.
At 2 pm it’s time for the La Mascleta which takes place in the different neighborhoods of the city – this is a run up to the main event of Mascleta held on 19 March at the Plaça de l’Ajuntamen. This is when fire crackers and pyrotechnics rule the roost and competitions are held to choose the brightest best fire! Prizes are also awarded for the most ingenious use of left over materials.
The spectacular event of garlanding Our Lady of the Forsaken takes place on 17 and 18 March at 4 pm when people offer flower garlands to the patron saint.
Every night there are firework displays in the city and the final one on the last night is the most magnificent with firecrackers and fireworks lighting up the skies.
Travel to Valencia
Fly in directly from Europe to any of the major cities in Spain. There are low cost carriers like EasyJet that offer discounted fares. Thereafter take a take train from Madrid or Barcelona to Valencia. The train journey is 2 hours from Madrid or Alicante and 3 hours from Barcelona.
Make sure you have some hotel reservations done well before as there is a huge influx of people to the city at this time and finding a last minute hotel room may prove to be difficult. Once you are in Valencia, enjoy the festivities in the city!
For more information on Spain Travel Guide | Spain Bank Holidays