Las Falles or Las Fallas is a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph in the city of Valéncia, Spain. During the 4 days leading up to the 19th of March, each neighbourhood parades their ninots (Valencian for puppets or dolls) through town until assembling them together to form a falla. Each neighbourhood, or casal faller will have a designated square to assemble all of these firecracker-filled cardboard and paper-mâché dolls. Usually there are different themes, often influenced by current events and meant to be satirical for everyones amusement.
This year there were several ninots depiciting Donald Trump, Ronaldo and Messi. Angela Merkel and Spain’s Prime Minister were also popular targets as last year.
Las Falles lasts for nearly a week with frequent fireworks displays, live shows, music, flowers and food, lots of food! After all, we are in Valencia, home of the paella. The traditional version with chicken and rabbit is most popular and as any Valencian would tell you, do not expect to see one with chorizo as we call that “arroz con cosas”, not paella. Cooks literally set fire in the streets and cook Spain’s most famous saffron rice dish as you can see below.
There are different theories regarding the origin of the Falles festival. One suggests that the Falles started in the Middle Ages, when artisans disposed of the broken artifacts and pieces of wood they saved during the winter by burning them to celebrate the spring equinox.
The climax of the whole event is around midnight on March, 19th and it’s known as Le Cremà — or The Burning. All the falles and ninots are burned in their designated squares across the city in a spectacular show of bonfires to celebrate the arrival of Spring. We guess you can say this party is truly lit!