THE Fallas de Valencia celebrations are in full swing with a return to pre-pandemic schedules.

The heady mix of fireworks, bonfires, flowers, festivals, and eye-catching giant statues are back in Valencia streets through to March 19.

The celebrations were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a scaled-down version was staged last September- six months later than normal.

This year’s Fallas started on the traditional opening day of the last Sunday in February with a firework display at Serrano Towers and a professional demonstration of rocket-lighting in Valencia’s Plaza del Ayuntamiento.

La Corda De Paterna In Valencia, Spain 26 Feb 2022
PROFESSIONAL LIGHTERS FROM PATERNA LAST SUNDAY(Cordon Press image)

Everything is proceeding as normal except that mask-wearing is needed for crowds to enjoy big outdoor events like the daily ‘Mascaleta’.

The origins of Las Fallas dates back to the 15th century when carpenters celebrated the arrival of spring every March 19 by burning wooden planks used to prop up their lamps during winter.

March 19 also happened to be feast day of the patron saint of carpenters, San Jose, who is also Valencia’s saint.

The discarded wood from the carpenters would form the foundation for a bonfire built up with old belongings and rags to give the structure a human appearance.

Over the years these have transformed into what they look like today- namely extremely-well crafted giant statues(Fallas) coming from a particular neighbourhood of Valencia.

City groups create something that is erected in their locality as part of a city-wide competition for the best design.

Most of the big creations have a sense of irony and social comment mixed with humour which is typical of the Fallas mood.

Caricatures of Donald Trump, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and General Franco have all featured in recent years.

Fallas En Valencia
PRE-BURNING TRUMP IN 2018(Cordon Press image)

All of the giant statues are then burnt in the ‘Cremá’, the evening culmination of the Fallas on March 19.

A daily ‘Mascleta’ is staged each day in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento at 2.00 pm with the setting-off of loud firecrackers and fireworks.

The modern Fallas celebrations started as a week in 1932 and have expanded to a three-week event.

Nevertheless, the main festivities kick in over the last four days.

They include late-night firework displays at the Paseo de la Alameda on March 16(midnight); March 17(1.00 am); and March 18(1.30 am).

Las Fallas were included on UNESCO’s cultural heritage of humanity list in 2016.

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