Noise, people, more noise and even more people. Once we arrived in Valencia for Las Fallas, the guide picking us up from the train station said “get ready, they are expecting about 1.5 million people this year.” Well that was so true, there were swarms of people everywhere. Walking down streets to see the Fallas or floats was nearly impossible due to the amount of people.
Let me start from the beginning, Las Fallas is one of the largest and most important festivals in Spain. Each year, every neighborhood, usually classified as two intersecting streets because they do not have actual neighborhoods come together and work year-round making a “falla”or float. The more money they have, obviously the more pristine the falla will be. The awards are given out based on different things like largest, most impressive, etc. At the end of the festival (March 19), all the floats are burned starting at 10 p.m. and going until 3 a.m. There are a lot more details that go into Las Fallas, but that is a brief overview.
All festival long, people are lighting firecrackers and making a ton of noise. Each day at 2 p.m., there is a fireworks show, but it is all about the noise, not the pretty fireworks. On our way to the show held in the center plaza, the guide said “make sure to keep your mouth open and don’t cover your ears, we don’t want any ear drums rupturing.” That was a little alarming, but the show was crazy loud and so awesome. The entire plaza ground and buildings near by shake. They also do fireworks shows at 1 a.m. some nights, not the best wake up call.
Finally, the burning of the Fallas. This was my favorite part by far. The Fallas are placed on streets all over the city, were they are made, and that is where they are burned. Fire fighters come to each burning to keep the near by trees and buildings wet, so they do not catch on fire. My grandparents and I some how ended up front row for the burning, I don’t know if that’s exactly where I would suggest standing because after it went up in flames I thought my eyebrows had burnt off and skin was melting. Thankfully, my face was still in tact. Standing close to a tree, once the falla was up in flames, the fire fighters soaked us with water attempting to get the tree. Everyone cheered as the entire falla fell down and the burning had ended.
Even though it was incredibly noisy and jam packed with people, it was still one of the highlights of my trip to Spain. If you happen to be in Spain March 15-19, I would definitely suggest going to Valencia for Las Fallas. Other than the festival, Valenica wouldn’t be my first place to go visit in Spain.