The Spanish sure know how to have a good time, which can be seen by the number of exciting and interesting festivals held each year in the European nation. One of the most popular is Las Fallas, which is scheduled to take place in the wonderful city of Valencia between Mar. 15th and 19th.
This annual festival is held in honor of Saint Joseph and it features blazing fires and banging firecrackers that ring throughout the air. The large festival sees huge, colorful statues of famous figures (ninots) that are made out of papier-mâché and are burned down to the ground during the festival’s final night.
The figures of film stars, politicians, bullfighters, and other famous people are spread around the historical city for spectators to admire. However, when the festival comes to an end, fireworks are stuffed into the effigies and are set on fire during the ceremony called La Crema. But not all of the figures are burned. The one that’s judged to be the best is saved and put on display in a local museum.
The festival offers more than burning effigies though, as there’s a daily tradition known as mascleta, held in the Plaza Ayuntamiento, which sees a huge display of rockets, firecrackers, and fireworks explosions. The displays are put on by neighbourhood groups who compete to see who can come up with the loudest and most impressive fireworks display.
Las Fallas is known to be so exciting and loud that ambulances are on standby to take away those who faint during the explosive displays. In fact, pregnant women aren’t allowed to attend the daily mascletas.
The exact roots of Las Fallas aren’t known, but it believed they can be traced back to some sort of Pagan/Christian tradition. This is because in medieval times people lit bonfires to honor St Joseph, who is the patron saint of workers. Then in the 1700s, effigies were introduced to the event each March 19th, which is St Joseph’s Day.
The festival also features parades, concerts, monuments, street displays, and bullfights.