Published on April 23rd, 2019 | by voxx0
Experiencing Valencia’s Fallas Festival
Snap, snap, crackle, bang, BANG.
This is the sound of the Spanish city of Valencia during Fallas, an annual festival held in March to commemorate St Joseph, where each neighbourhood of the city produces a statue that is later set alight and burned to the ground in a blaze of glory. Valencia really comes alive at this time of year, the combination of bright and bold sculptures amongst copious amounts of artistic graffiti turning this otherwise traditionally grand European city into a metropolis of colour and fun from every conceivable angle.
As poppers pop and fireworks ignite down random side alleys, the smell of smoke sails through the air and crowds of people shuffle around like sardines, taking it all in whilst sipping on beers and mojitos in the street. Live bands pop up seemingly out of nowhere, and with every new winding corner comes the opportunity to see a parade passing through. On the Saturday night, a huge fireworks display presents itself to reams of onlookers. As you traverse the labyrinth that is the old city, the statues stand proudly in all their glory, weird and wild and beautiful. To think that all that hard work is so willingly destroyed is kind of sad, but who can argue with tradition?
Fallas is quirky in the best way, and the support for this celebration is incredible. The whole month of March is somewhat of a party, but the final weekend is when it’s all happening, when I had the privilege of gracing the narrow lanes and squares with their dominant decorations and costumed mascots. But bear in mind if you do choose to check it out yourself that you’ll be doing a LOT of walking, and toilets are few and far between. For this reason, places like McDonalds and department stores can be your saving grace!
Valencia itself is a pretty city, with a relatively small tourist presence compared with many other Spanish destinations. This makes the experience all the more authentic, whether you’re marveling at the market halls or kicking back in the sprawling parkland. But, if you have the chance to visit during the Fallas festivities, it’s so worth it. A terrible idea if you get easily claustrophobic or have anxiety about crowds, but otherwise an experience you won’t soon forget.
- By Victoria Hydes