The Fallas festival in Valencia is so spectacular, it deserves both a post and a < 3 (still in post-production). The festival is a celebration of spring, and it started as carpenters would burn their parots (wooden structures used to hold candles) in large pyres because the days were getting longer and they no longer needed to work by candlelight. Today, it is a huge, multi-day celebration showcasing thousands of flowers, countless firecrackers, amazing fireworks, a multitude of beautifully dressed falleras, and hundreds of fallas (large sculptures) that are set on fire. I don’t want to spoil the < 3 by going into detail about the actual events, but here are some things we learned about attending the festival.
- If your hotel is inside the old city, make sure you arrive in Valencia before the street closures. Otherwise, you may have to park on a random street and walk 1 mile to your hotel, carrying your bags and dragging your suitcase, fighting all the crowds and dodging all the processions. This is not fun.
- When you go to a mascletà (8 minutes of intense firecracker and firework explosions), and especially if you are very close to the detonations, make sure you keep your mouth open. The signs tell you to. This is to equalize the pressure from the blasts, so it doesn’t harm your ears.
- Nap in the afternoon/evening. This is necessary so you can stay up, since the night activities don’t start until around 11 or later. It is also impossible because there are roving marching bands and because everyone is constantly shooting off firecrackers.
- On the night of the fireworks, wake up from your siesta at around 11 pm, especially if you were lucky enough to get 11:30pm dinner reservations (we weren’t). Walk around, admire the street lights and some of the over 300 fallas, and get your spot for the 1:30am fireworks. Then fight the crowds home and make it back by 3am.
- On the last night of the festival, the fallas are set on fire. Wear a raincoat to go watch the fires—even if it isn’t raining. Firemen are everywhere, and they can get you with the hoses.
- Have a farton. A farton is a long, bread pastry with sugar on top, and it has nothing to do with the Fallas, but it is delicious, it started with an “f” for my post title, and you can imagine all the fun Todd and the girls have had with the name. Locals like to have it with an horchata de chufa, a milky drink made from tiger nuts.
Stay tuned for our <3: Fallas in Valencia. In the meantime, these are new since our last post: