A Guide to Las Fallas Festival in València, Spain
VALÈNCIA, Spain (February 17, 2023) – Spanish festivals are something that everyone should take part in at least once in their lifetime. Las Fallas – a city wide tradition of art and satire that rivals New Orleans’ iconic Mardi Gras festivities returns to València from March 1st until March 19th. Tourists will observe non-stop celebrations as locals march behind their fallas monuments – which are distinctive and colorful constructions made by neighborhood teams – while cooking paella on the streets, listening to lively music and setting off fireworks. It is a vibrant and energetic event with a lot of history and tradition, that will undoubtedly make any traveler’s vacation one to remember.
As one of the three UNESCO Heritage designations in the city, Las Fallas is an annual tradition celebrated in honor of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. The festival first began hundreds of years ago, when València’s carpenters would burn old remnants from their workshops to commemorate the end of winter and give a warm welcome to spring. Although the celebration has evolved over the years, Las Fallas has preserved its history and rituals. Since then, around 800 giant sculptures – which range from large satirical pieces to small representations of current affairs – are set a flame in large bonfires. These magnificent works of art, produced by the guild of Fallas artists, are typically burned in the company of musicians, pyrotechnics, costumes and florists.
During Las Fallas Festival, visitors have the thrilling chance to discover the customs and cultures of València. Any traveler to this phenomenal celebration will experience the intense emotion and excitement that results from its numerous activities and will be able to appreciate the creative potential of everyone involved. Visitors will be in awe of the fallas that line the streets of València and will feel their bodies tremble as the gunpowder is lit and the fire festivities blaze. It is just as important to admire the art and significance as it is to witness the thrill of watching them burn on the night of March 19.
“It is an honor for Valencia to be recognized for one of our most special celebrations,” said Emiliano García Domene, Councilor for Tourism and Internationalization of the City of Valencia. “Las Fallas festival is an opportunity for travelers to integrate themselves into our culture and appreciate why this event is truly a staple for guests seeking dynamic destinations offering authenticity, festivities, adventure, and overall unique experiences.”
While Las Fallas is an ongoing festival, there are seven key events that travelers should look out for to observe the full Valencian experience:
- La Mascletà: Every neighborhood in the city holds its own Mascletà at 2:00 p.m. each day of the festival, which is a tremendously noisy but incredibly energetic show of firecrackers that can reach up to 120 decibels.
- La Plantà (March 15): This is the event in which the fallas are constructed and finished in anticipation of the celebration. Each neighborhood in València enters a monument into a competition in the hopes that it will be chosen as the winner—or the ninot indultat, which is the sole monument that is saved from the burning on the final day and is preserved in the neighborhood’s Museum Fallero.
- Award Giving Ceremony (March 17): During this event, women dress up in exquisite, vintage silk outfits. They are known as falleras, and each year two are chosen to serve as Fallera Mayor or “Fallas Queen.”
- La Ofrenda (March 17-18): The entire city gathers in the plaza for La Ofrenda, or the flower offering, to participate in the floral tribute to València’s patron saint, the Virgen de los Desamparados. The Virgen statue is put on a pedestal, which is then draped in flowers to resemble a cape. The plaza is a sight to behold towards the end of the day, covered in blossoms and releasing a wonderful aroma from the thousands of flowers that have been offered.
- Nit del Foc (March 18): which directly translates to “Fire Night,” is the fourth night and the night of the spectacular fireworks display, commencing at 1:30 a.m.
- Cavalcada del Foc (March 19): The festival’s final day kicks off at 7:00 p.m. with the Cavalcada del Foc, a vibrant fire parade featuring floats, street performances, people dressed in costumes, and upbeat music.
- La Cremà (March 19) serves as the festival’s great finale, when all the fallas are ignited in a spectacular show that finishes in a mound of ashes.
Tourists who are unable to participate in the popular fire festival this year are always invited to visit the nearby Museum Fallero to view the winning artwork and discover more about the celebration. To learn more about València’s Tourism Board, please go to www.visitvalencia.com/en.
About Visit València
Renowned for its mouthwatering gastronomy and home to the Spanish dish paella, València is a must-see destination when discovering Spain. Located on the Iberian Peninsula with immediate access to the Mediterranean Sea, travelers who visit València can experience 75 miles of beaches, including the famous La Malvarrosa, year-round warm weather, and plenty of outdoor activities such as bike routes that span nearly 100 miles and hike trails that cross the Albufera National Park. Featuring three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, impressive museums and spectacular gardens, this vibrant city is filled with breathtaking sights including the Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas, the historical old town and charming neighborhoods that reflect València’s past and present culture. Designated the World Design Capital for 2022, those who vacation in València must explore the City of Arts and Sciences and revel in its innovative and futuristic buildings. Visitors can choose from all sorts of accommodations ranging from beachfront lodging to luxury historical palaces. A port city ideal for the eco-conscious traveler, it is the first destination to be awarded by AENOR for verifying the carbon footprint of its tourist activity, and the Richard Camarena Restaurant, located in the heart of València, was rewarded a Green Michelin star for its constant commitment to the environment. To learn more about the Spanish city of València and begin to plan your trip, visit: www.visitvalencia.com.