Valencia Fallas

Fallas Festival, Valencia in March

In the month of March, Valencia celebrates its most famous festival, Las Fallas. Taking place from the 15th-19th of March each year, this festival centers around the celebration of St.Joseph’s day (aka Fathers Day in Spain) and marks the arrival of the spring season. This tradition began in the 18th century with Valencian carpenters, who wanted to honor their patron saint and so burned wood in the streets. Today, Fallas represents a point of community togetherness and Valencian identity for Valencianos throughout the year as each neighborhood prepares.

While principally celebrated March 15th-19th, beginning March 1st daily firework displays commence the annual festivities. During the festival’s  primary five days, the main customs include parades, sculptures, fireworks, costumes, and conclude with 300 bonfires around the city on the 19th. The sculptures, or “fallas” as they are called, are made by groups of community members throughout the entire year and usually have an entertaining theme. Then, on the 15th, they are erected throughout the city. There is a competition for the best sculpture with the winning prize to be preserved in the Fallas Museum, rather than burned in the fire with the rest. Mascletàs, the daily daytime firework shows in City Hall Square, add excitement to each day of the festival. Valencians can also be seen dressed in costumes, usually colorful and including silk, due to Valencia’s critical role in the history of the Silk Road. Later in the week, local participants may participate in offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary while traditionally dressed to arrange a large floral display outside the Basilica. Finally, on the last night, the 19th of March, the fallas sculptures are burned while attendees celebrate with fireworks, music, colorful costumes, and celebration to mark the beginning of spring.

Because of the vibrance and meaning to the Fallas Festival, it is considered UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. If traveling to Valencia in March, you will not want to miss out on this worthwhile tradition.

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