“Fireworks, rabbit paella, magnificent ornate dresses, deep fried dough and building high animated structures” sums of Valencia’s Fallas Festival in a nutshell. It’s a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages and is held in commemoration of Saint Jospeh on March 19. The entire city celebrates for up to one week full of nightly fireworks and endless parades of people dressed in traditional fallera costume. It’s truly spectacular.
One of my favorite attractions are the falleras. Men and women of all ages dress up in these elaborate traditional costumes. The details and colors of each piece are incredibly intricate and beautiful.
The biggest attraction held during Fallas are the Fallas themselves. Planted throughout the city from the smallest neighborhood corners to major historical plazas, these enormous animated structures are incredible and the craftsmanship impeccable. Fallas usually depict satirical anecdotes or popular culture. The most shocking ending to this is that during the wee hours of the final day people gather and firemen prepare to burn these unique pieces of art completely to the ground. Traditionally, old furniture was collected at the end of winter and gathered in the streets for a communal bonfire to commence spring. However, over the years, the fires evolved to these remarkable animated structures frozen in time.
A very popular snack sought after all over Spain but especially in Valencia during the Fallas is buñuelos, deep fried delicious batter. They have an irresistible crunchy exterior and gooey center. Yield to temptation and don’t forget to get the hot chocolate for dipping.
Something you can’t avoid is the nonstop firecrackers that echo throughout the city. Speciality firecracker stores open only during the season of Fallas and you can buy a bag load for 5 euros. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
I unfortunately couldn’t attend the burning for this year but I found the picture below from The SF Gate where they have a short spread that document one of the burnings.
*Valencia is located south of Barcelona and you can easily go by train, bus or car. It makes a great weekend trip if you have time to spare from Barcelona or plan on heading to other parts of Spain. Make sure to make accomodation reservations early if you plan on visiting during Las Fallas which always takes place usually 1 week before March 19th.