Experiencing Fallas for the first time

The month of March seems to be the most exciting month of the year in Valencia, Spain. Not only because the weather is AMAZING and winter is finally over but because Las Fallas begins! About 2 million tourists visit Valencia to partake in The Fallas Festival. How lucky are we to live here?!

Excitement building up for La Mascletà in Plaza Ayuntamiento
Excitement building up for La Mascletà in Plaza Ayuntamiento

Now, what exactly is Las Fallas? There are different explanations of the actual origin of Fallas so lets just say its a celebration held yearly to commemorate Saint Joseph and that it is definitely one of Spain’s most unique festivals. Fallas seems to be all about welcoming the spring season. The city is filled with colors, explosions, churros/buñuelos, parties, and more. Throughout March 1st-19th there’s a lot going on but the main days where big events take place are on March 15th-19th.

Traditional Falla. Photo Credit: Katy Charlot
Traditional Falla. Photo Credit: Katy Charlot

What does Fallas consist of? It consists of a celebration along with a burning of monuments. Each neighborhood in the city has a group of individuals that work year round, fundraising in order for the Casal Faller to construct a Falla (a monument made out of paper maché, cardboard, & ninots). There are more than 300 fallas taking over the streets of Valencia and will be burned on the night of March 19th known as La Crema. Only one Falla will win and be saved! So bittersweet.

Throughout Fallas you will see elegant young woman wandering the streets with the most unique hairstyle and beautifully handmade gowns. These women are known as Falleras. Each community has a Fallera but only one is chosen to be the Fallera Mayor of Valencia. The Fallera Mayor in other words is the Queen of Fallas for the year. She is the face of the festival and will make several appearances throughout the celebration. You can see her at the end of the parade, the last fallera is always the Fallera Mayor.

What to do during Fallas? A lot of events to attend! The days start off with La Despertà which is basically a firecracker wake up call at 8:00 am. After that, you have La Mascletà that takes place everyday from March 1st-19th at 14:00 in Plaza Ayuntamiento. La Mascletà is an event you definitely don’t want to miss. It gives you a feeling that is indescribable. Just know that it is a series of firecrackers that are not focused on colorful visuals rather focused on loud explosions and smoke. All I can say is that it is insane!

Another fascinating event to attend are the light shows in the streets of Russafa. Here you can find out about the specific streets and times. Grab some churros or buñuelos on your way there to munch on during the light show. You can literally find them at every street corner! In the City of Arts & Sciences you can visit an exhibition of the Ninots. The exhibit showcases a ninot from each commission, and all the visitors have the choice to vote for their favorite ninot to save it from being burned the night of La Crema.

Light show in Russafa - photo credit: Jaya Meyer
Light show in Russafa – photo credit: Jaya Meyer

Lastly, don’t miss out on the one of a kind fireworks that are displayed every night beginning March 15th-19th. That’s when the real partying begins. Hope you’re okay with running on only 4 hours of sleep. Check out this guide to help you stay in the loop of all the Fallas events taking place this week. Enjoy the festival and stay safe!


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