Falles: when Valencia is full of foreigners and Valencians flee

The Fallas (in Catalonian) or Falles (in English) are the traditional celebration in the city of Valencia, where I live, and it is celebrated in these days, puting the cap on March 19, Saint Joseph day.

Valencia in Fallas
A falla – picture by Jose Maria Moreno Garcia

During these days elaborate constructions (fallas) with papier mache and wood, composed of figures (ninots), are built on hundreds of streets all around the city. Also, there are a lot of events during these days, organized by groups of people in each neighbourhood, the named falleros: open-air dances, offering of flowers to Saint Mary, and a lot of fireworks, like the mascletaes (an explosive barrage of coordinated firecracker and fireworks displays).

picture by Chamaeleon, from wikipedia.org
Valencia in Fallas
Offering of flowers – picture by Xavier Patiño i Vidal
Mascletà – picture by Lobo_de_Hokkaido from wikipedia.org

Finally, in the night of March 19 (Nit de la Cremà), the constructions are burned, hundreds of great bonfires all around the city, and all ends. This is the most spectacular moment of the Falles, without doubt.

Valencia in Fallas
picture by Manolo Guallart
Valencia in Fallas
Nit de la cremà – picture by Juan Botella

Here a link for the readers wishing to know more: wikipedia.org/wiki/Falles


It’s a very known event in Spain, and thousands of people come to visit Valencia during these days, from other countries as well. However, half Valencian people flee, always that we can. Why?

Because it’s a pain in the ass. Yes, I know, it was fun when I was a teen, and it’s fun too if you haven’t been ever here and it’s the first time you live the Falles; even I can accept that the first ten or twelve times is fun. Mascletaes are spectacular, and la Nit de la Cremà, when all the constructions are burned, is the best. To play with firecrackers is enjoyable, specially if you think that five fingers in each hand are too many; many people in Valencia have got rid of some finger every year.

But to live the Falles for years, again and again, isn’t so fun. To live during weeks with hundreds of blocked streets, party-air dances every night at each corner, thousands of psychopaths throwing firecrakers during the whole day and night, collapsed emergencies due the injured by firecrackers (and worse now, that health service is being dismantled to give the money to banksters).

For people working each day, it’s a bit annoying, to say the least. Because just the last day, March 19, is holiday. During three weeks the city of Valencia is chaotic, and the last week is an uninhabitable place, a lawless city. In recent years, some complaints are coming against the City Council, for its role in this mess. For example, two years ago a man died after a heart attack because he couldn’t be carried to a hospital (at a few minutes of distance, in normal conditions) until more than one hour later; every way to the hospital was blocked by fallas, events or traffic jam.

Fortunately my apartment isn’t in the city but at ten kilometers of distance.


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