Classes and practice are very important for learning Spanish. However, studying certain aspects of Hispanic culture is also an essential part of learning. ✏️
Spanish Express knows this very well. Therefore, apart from providing you with regular teaching tools, we also provide you with interesting facts about Spanish culture. 😄
Today we are going to tell you about Las Fallas de Valencia, one of the most famous festivities in the whole peninsula. 🎆
Have you ever heard of this celebration? Do you know why the statues are burnt? 🤔
Let’s learn about this festivity together! 📚
Let’s get started!
Las Fallas de Valencia
There is no certainty about when Las Fallas de Valencia began. One of the most widely accepted versions indicates that the origin of this festivity lies in a custom of the carpenters of Valencia, who burned old materials on the eve of Saint Joseph’s Day (19 March), the patron saint of carpenters.
In this type of rites and celebrations, the flames represent renewal and continuous rebirth; that is, the ability to let go of old objects and attachments to make room for new experiences and material goods.
If we go by etymology, we will discover that the word “falla” was formerly used to refer to the fire that was made in the middle of gatherings, with the aim of lighting and heating.
Thus, the carpenters’ fire was fuelled precisely by this old and useless junk, which gave it a new meaning.
Why are monuments burnt in the Fallas in Valencia?
According to records, in certain localities in Valencia, some people began to burn dolls (also known as “ninots“) during the carpenters’ ritual. These figures embodied real people who, for some reason, had earned the hatred of the masses.
Later on, the inhabitants would take a satirical monument, take it to the street and burn it on the night before St. Joseph’s Day.
It was common for each of these monuments to bear the name of the city’s most traditional neighbourhoods. In this way, they competed in the different categories of fallas and for different prizes.
In turn, each monument is made up of two or three large figures (some are up to 20 metres high). Cardboard, wood and paint are the main materials used to make them. It is important to note that these figures usually represent aspects of local current affairs, especially of a social or political nature, but with a lot of humour.
The festivity begins on March 15th!
Like most folkloric celebrations, the music and the participation of locals are aspects of vital importance. As such, Las Fallas de Valencia have become well known around the world, even attracting a large number of foreign tourists.
The locals dress in traditional costumes are known as “falleros“. Local bands accompany the celebration with music and lively rhythms.
The Offering of Flowers to the Virgen de los Desamparados takes place on 17th and 18th March.
Mascletàs (fireworks) are fired daily in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Then, fireworks are also set off in the castles during the night of the 18th March.
And the celebration comes to an end with the Cremà, the last event of the fallera week, which brings the popular festival to a close on the night of 19 March.
When the “reinado” brings the evening to a close, it is a moving and emotional moment that often evokes thoughts of the Falleras Mayores sobbing in front of the ashes and flames.
The end of one Fallas marks the beginning of the next, so all the misery of the falleros and falleras has a positive side.
Thus, in a cycle that has been repeated (almost) uninterruptedly for years, the fallero artisans will resume their work in a few days to design their new monuments.
Happy Saint Joseph’s Day to all of you!
Due to its popularity and the fervour it arouses year after year, this festival has been declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest. On the other hand, UNESCO recognises it as Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Las Fallas de Valencia are an important part of Spanish culture. Music, colour and popular excitement are the main protagonists throughout the day. Undoubtedly, it is a very special tradition that is worth experiencing first hand.
Travel to Valencia and feel the warmth of the Fallas!
We wouldn’t be surprised if after reading this article you feel like travelling and experiencing Las Fallas de Valencia in the front row. ✈️
If that’s the case, we have excellent news for you: you can make your dream come true by participating in our Spanish Homestay Immersion Programme (SHIP)! 🏠
For 20 years Spanish Express has been offering this immersion programme whose main focus is to walk learning and fun in one place. This way, we guarantee the best way to learn Spanish. 🇪🇸
Valencia is one of our SHIP destinations. If you want to learn Spanish in this beautiful city and experience the Fallas like a Valencian, just contact us and ask for information. 🏠
Hispanic culture is vital for learning the language. Traditions, art, music and literature are a fundamental part of the study of Spanish. 😀
Other destinations in our SHIP include Mallorca, Barcelona and Cadiz. Have a look at them and decide your next venture. 😎
Live and learn Spanish in the home of one of our teachers! ✏️
We are waiting for you!