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Fallas: tradicion y nuevos comienzos.

Fallas: tradition and new beginnings.

Today is March 17 and we are right in the middle of Fallas here in Valencia. A festival considered a World Heritage Site and, above all, a festival that perfectly reflects the Valencian character. As you know, we like to tell you things about our traditions and this is one of the most important ones so, here we go!

What are the Fallas?

Las Fallas is an incredible festival that is celebrated between March 15th and 19th in Valencia and surrounding towns. During these days, the city is filled with color, music, gunpowder, people and, above all, fallas. But what exactly are these "fallas"? Well, they are huge monuments formed by "ninots" in which an ironic criticism of society and what has happened in the last year is made. And most importantly, and most surprisingly, they are burned on St. Joseph's Day, that is, March 19, as the end of the festival.

It is said that its origin is in the carpentry workshops that were cleaned at the end of winter. The wood they had was no longer necessary to use it for heating (the good weather was beginning) and the way to dispose of it was to take it out into the street and burn it. Little by little, the neighbors began to take advantage of the carpenters' bonfires to burn their old things. At that time there were no ecoparks to take old furniture, clothes to throw away, etc. It seems that at some point it occurred to someone to build with the old furniture and clothes, "dolls" imitating a neighbor and mock or criticize him for something he had done.

And the rest is history.

An important thing is that this neighborhood spirit is still maintained today, although the festivities are now international. In Valencia there are hundreds of monuments, and each one is made by an association formed by the neighbors of the streets where the monument is. It is a form of brotherhood, of getting to know each other, of "making family" among all.

The Fallas are many different events.

It could be said that the Fallas begin on the last Sunday of February with the "Crida" when the Fallera Mayor of Valencia calls Valencian and foreigners to celebrate together.

In addition, from March 1, every day, the "mascletà " is celebrated, which consists of firing pyrotechnics in a rhythmic, almost musical way. The truth is that it is difficult to explain in words. You have to see it. I have to admit that the "non-Valencians" think we are crazy, but we have gunpowder in our blood.

The main week of Fallas begins on March 15 with the "Plantà". At the end of the day, all the fallas must be fully assembled for a jury to come by to see and rate them. Apart from the beauty of the monument, it is judged on wit and grace. For a Valencian, the most important thing is the ability to criticize with great irony the social personalities of the year. A monument without social criticism is not a falla.

The rest of the days, Valencia is full of events. Valencians dress up in traditional costumes to bring flowers to the Virgen de los Desamparados (our patron saint) in the "Ofrenda", there are fireworks at night (they are called "castles"), firecrackers are thrown in the streets, there is music, and so on. Of course, there is no lack of food here either. Paellas are prepared and pumpkin fritters are eaten, a very typical sweet of Valencia at this time of the year.

And finally, the end comes, the "Cremà"! Actually, everything in the festivities revolves around this moment, the burning of the monuments. It may sound sad and seem crazy, but it is quite the opposite! It celebrates that the bad things, the things that need to be changed in society, etc. disappear and we start living from scratch. A fresh start, without dragging unusable things from the past. Actually, for us, it is not an end, but the beginning of the next year's Fallas.

It's not because we are Valencian and this is our tradition, the Fallas of Valencia are a unique experience that you can't miss. It is a perfect mix of tradition and actuality. And lots of gunpowder. And purifying fire! So if you ever have the chance to visit Valencia in March, let us know, I promise you won't regret it!

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