Saturday, March 20, 2010
Valencia: Las Fallas
"Las Fallas" means fireworks in Spanish, and the people of Valencia take this annual weeklong celebration very seriously. Las Fallas culminates on March 19, the Day of San Jose or Dia del Padre. Beginning on March 15, the neighborhoods of Valencia bring out their Falleras, extensive elaborate displays made of cardboard and paper maiche, that will go up in flames the night of March 19. Firefighters are on standby with hoses, though generally they hose down people who look too hot! Firecrackers are everywhere, I went to Valencia on March 18, and very few minutes would go by without a firecracker going off, some too close for comfort though I avoided being singed. I also joined the crowds for "La Mascleta" a fifteen minute barrage of uninterrupted fireworks that turned the sky grey and covered the crowd, including me, in bits of debris. No such thing as a safety barrier for Spaniards! I also can't get over their love of parades, we watched each neighborhood bring an offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary and literally everyone in the neighborhood wore traditional Valencian dress and walked along with their baby carriages and you can be sure the babies were trussed up too. My friends and I got caught behind the parade route and feared we would miss our bus back, luckily it too was delayed due to crowds, and we made it. Here are my pictures of the lovely Falleras, the traditional bunuelos de calabaza of Valencia (fried pumpkin doughnuts), and the paraders in Valencian dress. I saw some of these same Falleras burning on the news this morning!