Music, satire, lights, gunpowder, firecrackers, street food, flowers, costumes, and parties until the wee hours of the morning…the biggest, brightest, most eccentric festival is just around the corner in the charming Mediterranean town of Valencia! The festival of Las Fallas is celebrated each year in March in the city of Valencia, with the main event being the giant paper mâché statues built in the middle of the streets that are burned down on the last night of the festival.
Nestled along the Spanish coast, every year the town of Valencia succumbs to the wild festivities of Las Fallas, celebrated with plenty of explosions, lights, and drinks to go around. Mingle with the locals, stop to smell the flower offerings to the Virgin Mary, and ooh and aah over the amazingly colorful paper mâché structures just around every corner.
The festival combines the passion for fire and fun found deep within the Spanish soul, turning Valencia into the best street festival for 5 days every March. What happens in Las Fallas? Besides the amazing food vendors you’ll find lining the decorated streets and the flower offerings created by local school children in front of the main cathedral, Las Fallas’s main event is, well, Las Fallas themselves – the giant paper mâché statues created by neighborhood teams of locals! The teams compete every year for the most creative awards, pouring hours and hours of their time into majestic pieces of art.
Las Fallas can be visited throughout 5 days of the festival, where you’ll experience the local ambiance through all 5 senses. You’ll hear the laughter of children running through the streets as they attempt to throw bang snaps at each other’s feet. You’ll smell the mouth-watering aroma of fresh churros being fried in the street. You’ll taste the traditional fried doughnut holes, known locally as buñuelos, dipped in cups of thick, decadent chocolate. You’ll feel the beat of the drums in the unorganized local parade weaving its way along the avenue. And all along the way, you’ll find incredible masterpieces poking fun at political figures or simply being stunning as their owners set them up for the main event of the festival: the BURN NIGHT.
Leading up to the last night of the festival, all the fallas team members will bring flower offerings to the Virgin Mary at the city’s cathedral. On the eve of the last day of the festival, the selected team for that year will bring the final offering around 2 AM, signaling the fireworks to go off all along the main avenue and to signal the coming event of the Burn Night that will take place later that day. Experience all the emotions on the final night of the festival, the Burn Night (or la cremà), as you watch hours and hours of hard work (and money!) go up in flames to the applause and appreciation of the locals. There’s nothing quite like watching a giant statue go up in smoke at midnight amongst the medieval streets of Valencia!
You can even join the fallas team and get to know the creators, helping them in the burning process! Become a local yourself in a unique way that many natives don’t even get to experience. Being a part of the team is a privilege, and you’ll get to know the passion and creativity behind this impressively unique festival in southern Spain.
Spain is known for its crazy and unique festivals. Who hasn’t heard of the famous Running of the Bulls that takes place each July in Pamplona, or La Tomatina tomato fight that occurs just outside of Valencia? You might have even heard of the lesser-known Haro Wine Fight that takes place in the wine region of La Rioja. But there is something about the magic of Las Fallas that makes it one of Spain’s best festivals to experience. Maybe it’s the thousands of lights lining the streets each night. Maybe it’s the traditional silk costumes being worn throughout the city. Maybe it’s the blazing heat from the beautiful artwork on the Burn Night. You’ll have to let us know.
They say everyone should experience Las Fallas at least once in their life, to feel the pain and excitement as true masterpieces go up in smoke. Who knows, maybe some of that carefree passion will rub off on you. Are you ready to party like a Valenciano?