Weirdly, I had never heard of this festival until coming to Spain and you'd have thought I might have seeing as it is so big and fantastic! Las Fallas - refers to the incredible statues below. Each one is known as a falla. People work all year round to create these out of paper and wood (and more recently plastic) and then they display them in Valencia for a few days and hundreds flock to see them.
They are very Disney-esq but take on all sorts of themes and are also a little cheeky and sexual in places. They are really beautiful to look at and must have taken ages to plan and construct...
...but here is the thing. They sit in Valencia now, but come Tuesday they will all be burnt except for one. Possibly 500+ and all that hard work will go up in flames whilst the Valencian people watch and cry. The burning is a spectacle in itself and buildings nearby must be dowsed in water to prevent fire hazards and firemen will all be on standby. It is mental.
My friend told me that this year Brussels tried to ban the festival due to the air pollution involved but as always...money rules (Might be a good idea if they could revert to their previous ways and stop using plastics however). Plus it is a deeply rooted tradition.
Besides the fallas you will find the La Mascleta during the day where the residents let off fireworks so loud that your eardrums ache - I have never heard such a racket before - and paella is cooked everywhere on the street over low fires and you have amazing nighttime fireworks too followed by street parties galore. The whole place becomes pedestrianised. Oh and I almost forgot - a special procession with everyone in traditional costume, carrying white flowers which leads to a massive wooden Virgin Mary and the flowers are then used to construct her dress.
I was only there for the weekend but I had an amazing time. I stayed with my Valencian friend and we went out until 9.30am...unheard of for me to party for so long! A friend of mine was also visiting and he remains there now so if I can get hold of some of his photos of the statues burning I will try and post them.
The place becomes incredibly crowded and noisy so it is not for the faint hearted. It is party non-stop but if you ever get the chance I really recommend that you go. Everyone gets involved. We were dancing in the street at 3.30am next to a huge stage with hardly any space to move and a little granny peered out of her window and began to do a little boogie of her own which made the crowds roar with approval. It was so cute! The whole weekend astounded me...I'm just totally in love with Spain and its craziness... xxx