Continuing our glossary of Las Fallas (you can read part one here):
Nit del Foc
(literally “Night of Fire”), this pyrotechnical festival takes place on the night between the 18th and the 19th March and acts as a preamble to the main day of the Fallas.
Cabalgata del Ninot
A parody parade where the participating Committees dress up to portray famous personalities or current events in a critical or satiric way, playing with double meanings or even provocation. This parade takes no political sides and has no taboos: any institution, person or event currently in the public eye can become the subject of criticism. As a result, it is seen as a Falla on the move with its “human Ninots”.
Cabalgata del Ninot Infantil
Here it is the children who make up the amusing, colourful, lively parades. Although its themes obviously don’t reach the same levels of mordacity as its elder namesake, this cavalcade also includes a fair dose of satire and humour, more suited to the public it is aimed at.
Cabalgata Folclórica Internacional
With the Fallas in full swing, the city centre welcomes communities and groups from around the world to portray their customs, folklore and celebrations. It is a dynamic festival that combines music and colour with elements of tradition and culture.
Ofrenda de Flores a la Virgen de los Desamparados
A floral offering to the Kingdom of Valencia’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Forsaken. All the Fallas Committees take part in this event, decked out in their finest, to present their bouquets of flowers to the enormous image of the Virgin which stands in the centre of the plaza named after her, overlooked by her Basilica.
A parade of thousands upon thousands of “Falleras” and “Falleros” fills the city streets, wearing regional costumes and adding to the visual charm with the colours of the flowers. Each Committee brings its own music band and, in some cases, a spectacular basket with the most original and creative floral decorations.
Because of their incredible numbers of participants, the Offering is held on two days (17th and 18th March) and, for many reasons, it has now become the Fallas week’s central event.
In translation, la plantà means something like “finishing touches”. It is actually the moment when the Falla’s top part is finally put in place. Since the Fallas are higher and more spectacular every year, the positioning of these pieces has become a difficult task which may take several days and which is observed with great expectation by dozens of onlookers.
Over time, the expression has become generalised: the “plantà” is now taken to be the exact moment when the Falla is completely finished and ready to be visited, with all its “ninots”, posters and various details (grass, lights, explanatory signs, etc.)
This takes place on the night of March 15th.
Cabalgata del Fuego
(Fire Parade) takes to the streets of Valencia in the evening of 19th March.
Fire is the fiesta’s symbolic spirit and the Fallas’ final destination. This is a colourful, noisy event, with floats, people in costumes, rockets, gunpowder, street performances, music – all at nightfall, as the time approaches for the Ninots to be consumed by flames.
In contrast to the Plantà, which marks the proper start of the Fallas Festival, the Cremà marks its finish.
It is probably the most popular event internationally and the one that gives the concept of “Fallas Fiesta” its full meaning: the monuments are exhibited in the street to be burnt. That is their fate and, at the same time, their grandeur.
In the small hours between the 19th and 20th of March, enormous pyres burn around the whole city. The splendid monuments, which a few hours before stood proudly in the streets and squares, are reduced to ashes amidst the clamour of hundreds of people who attend the ritual every year.
Symbolically, the “Falleros” throw everything that is considered to be superfluous, harmful or simply unusable onto the bonfire and, by doing so, aim to make a new start and regenerate the spirit. This objective has always been the basis of this kind of pagan rite, since ancient times.
In each neighbourhood The Fallas Committees organize a large number of street parties known as Verbenas, where locals meet to dance and have a good time. Everyone who wants to join in is given a warm welcome, so they are ideal for visitors, who are sure to find a friendly, laid-back atmosphere.