Every year, as a traditional celebration, Las Fallas or The Falles is celebrated in Valencia, Spain to commemorate St Joseph’s Day, the patron saint of carpenters and wood working. This takes place between 15th and 19th March.
It is named Fallas or Falles because of the celebration of the burning of effigies and monuments throughout the city. The monuments are known as Ninots to the Valencians.
Every neighbourhood normally creates some form of Ninot in one theme or another which is completely up to them. For example, the photo below shows a structure depicting the Beatles Yellow Submarine as a theme.
On the last night of the Falles (19th March), named La Crema (The Burning), these Ninots are burnt in a square or street in the neighbourhood they have been made for, marking the climax of the Falles celebration. Often these structures contain fireworks which are usually lit first and eventually help the burning of the Ninot. As you can see in the picture below the burning of these can be quite impressive due to how big they can be, plus the proximity to buildings and property. A lot of care is taken to ensure the safety of these burning Ninots too.
During the run up to the final night on 19th March there are a number of other celebrations which take place in the city as well. On each day in March Mascletas are held throughout the city in various locations. The biggest of these is held in the Plaça de l’Ajuntament shown below and starts at 2pm each day.
The Mascletas are daylight displays usually consisting of noise and rhythm of the fireworks rather than colour and effects. Over the course of a Mascleta the display gets more intense with the noise and the rhythm, culminating in a mass of noise and explosions which push 120dB. They usually last about 5 minutes.
Along with the Mascletas there are night time displays as well. These run from 15th March to the final night on 19th March and progressively get bigger each night they are put on. The fireworks displays are held in the old river bed in the centre of Valencia. The last night of the displays is named La Nit Del Foc, which means Night of Fire.
click picture for video
On the last night, before the Ninots are burnt across the city a carnival takes place, known as the Cavalcada del Foc (Fire Parade) in the Porta de la Mer square and along the Colon street, and in the spirit of the true Spanish Fiesta this is the big finale of the Fallas which includes lots of partying with the use of fire. People dress up in costumes and floats are paraded down the street with lots of fireworks and pyrotechnics attached to them. With this there are lots of street performances and music included using these pyrotechnics to give the ultimate party atmosphere.
Later on, after the carnival has finished, to bring Las Fallas to a close the final display on the riverbed goes ahead which is the biggest display over the 5 nights. This display usually contains a vast mix of different firework effects, some of which are unique Spanish effects. The display as a whole is very high in impact and is choreographed in a very Spanish/Valencian way.
Back at the main square (Plaça de l’Ajuntament) a little bit later on, and after the riverbed display, the final Mascleta style display kicks off followed by the burning of the Main Ninot in the square. This part is the culmination and the grand finale of the whole Las Fallas festival.
click picture for video