Tag Archives: fallas

The culminanting days of Valencian Fallas

16 Apr

On March the 18th, Valencia had come to the culminating days of their festival, the Fallas, a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph in this city, in which beautiful huge figures (fallas) are built in order to be burned. The Fallas coincided this year with a long holiday weekend, and so the city was taken by a tide of visitors moving through the city to enjoy the sunshine of its fallas, the emotion of the Offering to the patron saint and the pyrotechnics spectacle of the Nit del Foc (Valencian for “Night of the Fire”) and the Cremà (the ceremony in which the fallas are burned).

 In that full spring atmosphere, and with no more rainy days, festive music and the symphony of firecrackers became the soundtrack of a film in which the smell of gunpowder, the fritter with chocolate flavor, the devotion to the Virgin and the hours until the arrival of purifying fire are always erected as protagonists.

 A million people  –  including Valencians, visitors from nearby towns and tourists  –  spent a time together in a city besieged by traffic chaos  – causing more than 550 blocked roads  –  and which saw the “no vacancies” billboard hanging in many of the hotels in the city, whose average occupancy is estimated to have been around 85%.

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The city, packed out

 With the new freedom of schedules in many areas of Valencia, a lot of small retailers and big malls took advantage of the avalanche of people which invaded, mainly, the centre of the city to open their shops and search for an opportunity that could give them a rest.

 On this March 18th, one day more  –  and it had been already eighteenth of them – thousands of people packed out the town hall’s plaza to enjoy the rythm, the intensity and the roar turned into art in the typical mascletá, which consists of firecrackers that explode one after another making a lot of noise. These firecrackers were shot that day by the Caballer de Godella Pyrotechnics.

 Barely having time to digest this thunderous spectacle, at 3.30pm the second day of the touching Offering to the Virgin of the Defenseless started, one of the most crowded and emotional acts of the festival. Around 100.000 people participated during two days, including falleros – people in charge of taking care of the fallas – and musicians.

A cape of carnations

 60,000 bouquets of white and red carnations – though there were some yellow ones too  –  were left at the patron saint’s feet by touched “falleras”. These bouquets were later arranged by the “vestidores”, men who are in charge of preparing the Virgin’s cape. They must distribute the bouquets in the right places of the “vestidor”, a base to place the bouquets that forms the cape, so that the design of the cape is completed at the end of the day.

 “Dressing my queen” was the title of the spectacular design of this year’s cape, that the Virgin wore figuratively with a typical “manteleta”  – a kind of embroidered shawl, part of the traditional valencian costume.

 Hundreds of people gathered during the route along the streets of the city up to the Basilica in order to cheer up, make flattering comments and immortalize the participants with their cameras and mobile phones, specially babies and little “falleras” that paraded with grace to the festivity music

Halfway between civic and religious, this ceremony, in which people cry and smile while paying tribute to their patron saint, finished, according to the tradition, when the Virgin was given an offering by the main fallera, Begoña Jiménez. After that, since the weather allowed it, the “Nit del Foc” took place, the most important fireworks display at the Fallas.

Nit del foc: the Night of the Fire

 Ricardo Caballer Pyrotechnics has been responsible for the spectacular fireworks for eight years. And this year, the sky was decorated by them with smiling faces, stars, spirals and butterflies for more than twenty minutes. 7,500 elements and 2,750 kilos of regulated materials were used to achieve this spectacle.

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It took place on Monday, 18th March, at 1,30 a.m. ; and it announced the arrival of Saint Joseph’s Day, when each year almost 800 monuments – big and children’s sizes –  all around the city are burnt for all night and morning long. Then they rise from their ashes to welcome spring and, of course, 2014 Fallas.

 

Source:  http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2013/03/18/valencia/1363633364.html