La Fallas is celebrated in Valencia Spain from March 13-17 to honor the Patron Saint of carpenters, Saint Joseph’s. Having pagan roots, the festival originated in the 18th century and has now evolved into one of the biggest festivals of Spain.
La Fallas is all about dance, music, costumes and fireworks. La Fallas is the Spanish for “the fires”. The main feature of the festival is the making and burning of “nintos” (puppets). The nintos can be papier Mâché or wooden or plaster statues.
The theme is mostly satirical and mostly based on current happenings. Most nintos are elaborate works of art which take a whole year in making and cost a fortune.
From the first day of the festival, a daily ritual of releasing Mascleta (smoke bombs) in the air takes place at 2 pm sharp in the town’s main square. The sounds of the exploding smoke bombs is deafening and causes the whole place to vibrate besides enveloping it in grey smoke.
Street parties are also a daily affair and the air rings with music. As the festival reaches its climax, the festivities gain pace; people dress up in their traditional costumes. The women especially look stunning in their brightly colored gowns and elaborate hair accessories.
On March 17 and 18 the people march towards the Plaza de la Virgen carrying flowers to honor the Patron Virgin. These flowers are then used to build a giant size image of the virgin.
On the final day of the festival, all the nintos are stuffed with fireworks. Then exactly at midnight they are set on fire; however the nintos voted the best is spared and is placed in the museum with the other winners. La Fallas is a gala of parades, music and fireworks. It is celebrated with joy, pride and passion.