When the month of March arrives, the people in Valencia talk about nothing else: The Fallas season has finally arrived. But what is Fallas about? Is it really that big deal? In this article we’ll tell you everything: what and when is it, the traditions in Fallas and what you should do if you are a Spanish student in Valencia and you have never lived this experience before.
Every year during the first fifteen days of March this very special festival is celebrated for the inhabitants of Valencia and the surrounding area. Although the official celebration only lasts a few days, there are two weeks full of events and people come to visit Valencia from all over the country and even abroad. The main characteristic of this festival, and the reason for its name, is the arrangement of fallas in many areas of the city and nearby villages. Many of you study Spanish and may think that it has something to do with the verb fallar, but it does not. A falla is an artistic monument, usually large and colourful, which is placed in a central area of the neighbourhood at the beginning of the festival so that people can visit and celebrate around them. That day is called la plantà (valencian word for the placement). From that moment on, the whole city becomes a party with music and events throughout the day and in all parts of Valencia. When the night of the 19th arrives, all the fallas are set on fire to farewell this time of the year, and that night is called la cremà (valencian word for the cremation). This last one is a very special and beautiful event for all those who witness it.
But there is something else without which the failures cannot be understood. If you have ever come to Spain to visit Valencia at this time of year, I’m sure you know what I mean by now: firecrackers. Yes, valencians are crazy about them. If you happen to be studying Spanish in Valencia during this days, you will notice that around every corner there are some kids throwing firecrackers or a bunch of people are preparing a big traca (which is when they line up several firecrackers in a row to create a chain explosion). Fireworks are a very common thing as well; you just have to look up to see some filling the sky with colours. But there is one event that is the cherry on top of the cake, one that reunites the biggest crowds in all Valencia: las mascletàs. From the 1st until the 19th of March, every day at 2 o’clock thousands of people will gather around the town hall square to witness the burning of up to 400 kg of firecrackers. The noise and the experience is impossible to describe with words, you can even fell the ground shaking beneath your feet!
After reading this, you will surely feel very lucky to be a Spanish student in Valencia and to be able to live this unforgettable experience. During this days, try to hang out with your friends of the Spanish course and go for a walk in the city, watching the fallas in every neighbourhood, trying the typical food (churros stands are everywhere during Fallas), meeting new people and celebrating just like any other inhabitant of Valencia will do. I guarantee you that it will be one of the most enjoyable times of your stay in Spain. Have a good Fallas!
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Written by Joaquín Puerta