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The history of Fallas and its top events!

The time has finally come to celebrate one of the most vibrant and unique festivals in all of Spain, Las Fallas. Attracting visitors from all over the world, Las Fallas truly is a spectacle of art, fire, and most of all, tradition. During this festival, which occupies the whole month of March,  you will watch the city come alive with parades, music and fireworks, but there are many people who are unaware of its history and meaning.


This blog will give you a deeper understanding of this magnificent festival and most importantly outline the main events and attractions that are simply unmissable. Although Las Fallas definitely just looks like one big party, it is so much more to the residents of Valencia, it’s a way that they can honor their heritage and celebrate the lively spirit of their city.


The origins of Las Fallas

Las Fallas commemorates the day of Saint Joseph (or San José), who is known as the patron saint of carpenters.


It all started in the 15th century when carpenters would use wooden handles to hold up their lamps during winter – when Spring started to approach and the days began to get longer, they no long needed these wooden poles. Therefore, tradition would have it that in honor of their patron saint, San José, they would burn these poles on the 19th of March. This ancient practice soon evolved into the festival we all know and love, Las Fallas. 


In the festival we are familiar with, this symbolic burning is represented on the day of La Cremà, which is recognized as the last day of Fallas and takes place on March 19th respectively. It marks the end of the festival, signifying the arrival of Spring and the renewal of life. 


The first Fallas Week was organized in 1932. Since then, the Fallas became the main festivity in the Valencia Region and were also included in UNESCO’s cultural heritage of humanity list on November 30th,  2016. 


What are Fallas?

The word «fallas» itself actually refers to the wooden structures or «ninots» (puppets or dolls) that were originally placed outside workshops and burned on the eve of the feast day of Saint Joseph. The fallas themselves are elaborate sculptures made of wood, paper-mâché, and other materials.


As the festival gained popularity, the Fallas became more elaborate and artistic, with themes often satirizing political events, social issues, or popular culture. Each falla is a manifestation of the artists’ artistic expression, allowing them to communicate with the audience and convey their ideas, emotions or concepts through the art of their sculpture. The public are just as much involved, as they can criticize, sympathize or praise the ideas conveyed in each falla.


The «Exposición del Ninot» is a great example of this, as the various fallas committees showcase their ninots in a large exhibition each year ( here the public have the chance to vote to save their favourite ninots from La Cremà). There are also various Fallas tours available to book where visitors can learn about each falla and really delve into the history of the festival. It’s definitely worth it!


Experiencing the Mascletà

Arguably one of the most iconic and anticipated events out of the whole festival  – the Mascletà is definitely something you must experience at least once (although most Valencians would tell you that once is simply not enough). The location of the Mascletà is usually in a central plaza, so in Valencia’s case it’s the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and they are usually every day at 2:00PM.


A mascletà is a highly choreographed and intense display of fireworks and pyrotechnic devices that focuses on creating rhythmic explosions of sound rather than visual effects. The goal is to create a rhythmic pattern of explosions. These explosions both reverberate through the entire area and create a sensation of intense vibration and sound.


The interesting thing about the mascletà is that it builds up in intensity, with the explosions becoming louder and more rapid as it progresses. Again, this is not just a display of pyrotechnics, it’s also considered an art form, with skilled pyrotechnicians competing to create the most impressive and intense displays.


You can’t really experience Fallas without attending this display so we really recommend heading down to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento nice and early to find a good spot for the event!


La Ofrenda

Last but definitely not least is La Ofrenda, which honors and venerates Valencia’s patron saint of the city, La Virgen de los Desamparados, in a procession which typically begins on March 17th and continues into the early hours of March 18th. This part of the festival really captures the true beauty and symbolic meaning of the Virgen Mary and is both an emotional and spiritual experience for participants and visitors.


During La Ofrenda, thousands of Falleros and Falleras, dressed in traditional Valencian attire, parade through the streets towards the Plaza de la Virgen carrying bouquets of flowers. Upon reaching the Plaza de la Virgen, participants ascend the stairs of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken where a massive wooden structure, resembling the Virgin Mary, stands in front of the basilica. This structure is adorned with thousands of flowers, which participants lovingly place at the feet of the Virgin, forming a magnificent tapestry of colors and fragrances.


The offering of these flowers to the Virgin symbolizes gratitude, devotion, and unity among the people of Valencia. After days of celebrating and partying, La ofrenda is is a nice way, gentle way for residents to honor their patron saint and express their faith and love towards her, making it a truly unforgettable experience.


EUROACE has some great Fallas activities for you to get involved in this month. We are organizing both a visit to the Ninot exhibition as well as a Fallas tour. If you’re interested please send an email to We’ll see you there!


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