March 25, 2018
First you hear it, then you smell it, then you see it. The fireworks of Las Fallas.
People who follow the festival of Las Fallas know this post is late, the last day having been on the 19th of March.
For those who are less familiar with Las Fallas, it is a festival held annually in Valencia, Spain. It is usually in late March. The intent of the Fallas is to honor Saint Joseph.
I arrived in Valencia, Spain on the night before the last day of the Fallas. The first indicator of the festival was fireworks of green and red in the distance. It was a stark contrast to the black night. As I drove into the city, the sight of the fireworks was replaced with the noise of firecrackers going off in every alleyway and every street. These continued into the early hours of the morning.
The next day, I went to the mascletà at 14:00. This is where I got the inspiration for the title of this post. I managed to be simultaneously amazed and terrified. But that’s just me. Do you like loud sounds that make the ground under you shake (dare I say quake) and excessive amounts of smoke? If so, then you might be amazed and not terrified!
Nonetheless, it is a worthwhile event to attend, unless you have heart issues or get headaches easily. In truth, I went to Las Fallas to see the ninots, which are the enormous statues made by groups of local people for the festival. I was not disappointed. The ninots were breathtaking. They showcased the creativity and work that the artists put into them.
I spent most of my time during the day after the mascletà taking pictures of the ninots.
The main event for the Falles (and the reason it is called so) is La Cremà. This is when all the statues are burned. It takes place at night.
Even though I am usually in bed by 11:00, I was determined to see the burning of the main falla, which was scheduled to be at midnight. So, when the time on my phone changed to 00:10, I was a little annoyed. The people around me were too, whistling and gesturing with their hands. It finally began twenty minutes after midnight, with a slew of fireworks to begin. Immediately after the fireworks, I was able to see the flames beginning to burn the main falla. In a matter of minutes, the entire structure was incinerated. Below is a “before” picture followed by “after” pictures.
As I walked back to my hotel, I saw piles of ash, formerly the huge colorful ninots only an hour before. It was somewhat saddening to know that something so beautiful was destroyed.
I hope you enjoyed reading. I’ll be writing a reflection on my time in Spain in my next post. Thank you!