Despite a bout of conjunctivitis that was a real aguafiesta (party pooper), Las Fallas was an amazing thing to see. I already knew it to be true, but after experiencing Carnaval and then Las Fallas, it’s clear that Spain just really knows how to party. I’m impressed. (And, after seeing everyone from babies to grandparents partying it up late into the night it makes me wonder why this cant happen in city X, Y, or Z in North Amercia?!)
Every barrio makes their own mezcleta, larger than life figures traditionally made of papier mâché that are today made of some kind of plastic(?). The festival revolves around the judging of these amazing creations and their subsequent burning at “La Crema” (“The Cream”, which I wasn’t able to stay for), along with the amazing displays of fuegos artificiales — night and day. I’m still not too sure what the point of day time fireworks are; the noise is incredibly impressive on its own, and it certainly is something to see people put up umbrellas to shield themselves from the falling fireworks’ cinders, but it doesn’t really compare to the beautiful colours that fill the sky at night.
At night, everyone who is in Valencia during Las Fallas gathers in the streets to see the amazing display that seems to make the whole sky sparkle.
Then there are processions of “falleras” through the streets; men, women and children in traditional dress followed by marching bands. They bring flowers to the huge statue of La Virgen in one of the main plazas, La ofrenda. Over the course of Las Fallas, the statue is ‘flowered’, what seems like a time consuming process, but with gorgeous results. I was in awe.
I was feeling pretty rotten, so I was really lucky to be traveling with a good friend (thank you, Matt!!) and staying with such considerate hosts (muchas gracias y obrigada Daniela y Marcelo!!). Marcelo made us breakfast every morning and Daniela showed me around the beautiful Ciudad de las ciencias y artes (the city of arts and sciences) and the old barrio Carmen. So, despite struggling through the celebrations at times, I am so grateful I was with such friendly people and am so glad I got to see this amazing festival. Spain knows how to party (por supuesto).