The fantastic festival of Las Fallas is well known throughout Spain and worldwide. Thousands flock to the city during March every year to enjoy the festivities and holiday atmosphere during this special time. Numerous smaller towns and villages in the region also have similar smaller Fallas festivals which operate on a smaller scale but are no less enjoyable. Lasting 4 days, the whole region and city of Valencia adopt a carnival atmosphere and holiday feeling with the whole community getting involved in the preparations and celebrations.
The city hosts music festivals, concerts and shows, often featuring local celebrities. During the year organisers raise funds and collect money for the festivals, and preparations include the making of the large Fallas - the elaborate and stunningly colourful papier mache and wooden statues that give the festival its name - which then adorn the city streets during the celebrations. The statues will be paraded through the town in the build up to the celebrations and mounted on boards full of fireworks.
Celebrating San Jose, the Patron Saint of wood workers, legend has it that the festival of Las Fallas began when local workmen in the city would set fire to any leftover materials at the years end. The celebrations are marked with fireworks and music throughout, beginning with the grand opening ceremony and culminating in the burning of the Fallas statues. Some very lucky Fallas will eventually be rescued and preserved in the local museum. Their firework filled stands will launch colourful displays into the air. A good place to join in is at the Turia Gardens for fireworks each evening which is a spectacular display.
What to see during the festival
Locals also take great trouble in preparing their festival outfits and costumes. Local girls and women put on beautiful traditional dresses for key events and ceremonies during the festivals including the carrying of flowers to and the adornment of the Basilica of the Virgin of the Forsaken. During the festivities local delicacies are consumed in abundance. These include of course the delicious Paella (Valencia is the region from which paella originates) and the sweet and sticky sugar covered churros whose smell we are familiar with in fairgrounds throughout Europe. Celebrations normally last late into the evening and the Spanish are famous for partying long into the night. The city is very busy at this time, and it is therefore recommended to book restaurants and accommodation before you travel.
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