The annual Fallas festival sees the Valencian population come out in some very colourful costumes to celebrate the onset of spring. The central players of the festival are the fallas themselves – immense artistic sculptures that take on a variety of forms. The dedication that is put into creating these gigantic figures has developed over time and today, the figures are unique pieces made by local artists over a number of months before the festival, created from papier-mache and a wooden base, sanded down to perfection and painted in an array of bright colours.
The themes of the fallas vary – they are often created to represent political figures in a satire of the current political climate, or as infamous celebrities who have made the headlines that year. The ninots are a smaller type of fallas designed specially for the children and often seen in the form of popular figures such as princesses, pirates of fairies.
La Crema or “The Burning” is the very final part of the festival when the 700 fallas and ninots are thrown onto the bonfire or a sea of fireworks and burned to the ground in front of cheering crowds. The sculptures are designed to burn down and collapse in a precise way so there is no need to worry over safety!
This is a truly atmospheric experience, with fallas burning in every corner of the city as a symbol of purification. Just one sculpture is saved – and later exhibited in the Fallas museum. Each of the burnings is accompanied by its own fireworks display, with the main and taking place in the Plaza de Ayuntamiento in front of a huge crowd.
There is a joyful atmosphere and lots of fun to be had, as well as a variety of stalls selling traditional local snacks, to keep partygoers energised and upbeat to celebrate until the early hours.