From niñots, to mascletas, paella contests and firework displays, this article will introduce you to the amazing spectacle of Fallas.
If you like the sound of it, you can book on our cycling holiday in Valencia during March to get a first hand experience of the celebrations.
What is Las Fallas?It is thought that Fallas was originally a Pagan festival, with huge fires made to burn the wood left over from winter and to celebrate the arrival of spring. In later years, however, Fallas has been more assosciated with being a celebration held in the commemoration of St Joseph.
In Fallas today, the highlight, taking place on the 19th March is the burning of the fallas. The fallas are huge structures (sometimes upto twenty metres high) made from paper, wood, polysterene and other flammable materials.
Each block creates a Fallas, resulting in hundreds being erected in total. The Fallas are made up of niñots (dolls) and usually offer a sartirical take on a modern or historic theme. The Fallas are burnt during La Crema, with the first neighbourhood setting fire to the niñots at 10pm.
In addition to the Fallas, the festival is a general celebration of noise, colour, food and parties, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people from across the world.
Where is Las Fallas?Las Fallas takes place in the Valencia region, on the East coast of Spain. Most towns and villages in the region are engaged in the festival, but the capital, Valencia, is where most of the action takes place.
Every neighbourhood, totalling hundreds across the city of Valencia, has their own organised street parties - and there is healthy competition between the areas to make the best party.
What to see in Las Fallas?
FallasYou would be hard pressed to miss these large structures as you walk the streets of Valencia during Las Fallas. The structures are displayed proudly for the duration of the festival, before being burnt to the ground on the last night during La Crema.
MascletasLa Mascleta is similar to a firework show, but without any colours or elegant patterns. The aim of La Mascleta is to make as much noise and smoke as possible.
Mascletas are held fairly regularly throughout the festival, with the most famous held in Plaza Ayuntamiento (Town Hall Square). The loudest, however, is held on Valencia beach where there are no restrictions on the amount of noise that can be made.
PaellaSpain's most famous dish originates from the Valencia region and is embraced during Las Fallas. Throughout the city, huge paellas are cooked on street corners over a traditional log fire.
The ingredients are for Paella Valenciana (chicken, rabbit, snails, rice and beans - no seafood), and it is a far cry from what you may have tasted before on the Costa del Sol or Costa Blanca.
FireworksThe old river bed in Valencia is the scene for several firework shows throughout Las Fallas. Valencia prides itself on having the best firework displays in the world, and it may well be right.
The grandest is on the 18th of March - La Nit del Foc (The Night of Fire) and often lasts close to an hour.
RuzafaThe neighbourhood of Ruzafa is generally seen to have the best parties during Las Fallas. Centred on the streets of Calle Sueca and Calle Cuba, the fallas here are among the most impressive and there are markets and entertainment lining the area.
El CarmenWhile Ruzafa may be the best, El Carmen is certainly the busiest neighbourhood during Las Fallas. The streets are packed towards the end of the festival, with people watching live music, eating and just mingling in a great atmosphere right in the heart of the Valencia old town.
Visiting Las FallasIf you plan to visit Las Fallas, make sure that you plan in advance because accommodation tends to sell out quickly.
It is a truly memorable experience and like no other festival in the world. Las Fallas is a real attack on all the senses and is truly embraced by the people of Valencia.
If you would like to experience Las Fallas, and combine it with a cycling holiday, please take a look at our excellent cycling holiday around the Valencia region.