The Falles or in Spanish "Las Fallas festival" is celebrated from March 15 to March 19 each year, but over the year many events and celebrations occur in connection with this celebration.
Las Fallas is a festival with a strong tradition in the city of Valencia and the different munincipalities of Valencia. Today, this festival has become an important tourist attraction. Its origins are really simple, just a waste burning of carpentry workshops.
From March 15 until March 19 the days and nights in Valencia are a continual feast. , the mascletás, spectacular firecrackers and fireworks, which are obtained through the musical sound of the gun powder, already start March 1st. These shows take place in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, the city center, at 14:00.
Usually Las Fallas or Falles are satirical with current topics. Las Fallas usually consist of a central figure or composition of several meters, the largest figure exceeds 30 meters; Artists and craftsmen, sculptors, painters and many other professionals are engaged for months to build such monuments. The act in which Las Fallas or sculptural compositions are burned is known as "La cremá" or "La quema".
When autumn came and the days grew shorter, the craftsmen continued working during the early hours of the night. They used simple wooden foot lamps called parot , estai , pagés, pelmodo or perniodol to illuminate the workshops, while the apprentices, the officials and the masters carried on working by the light of the fire.
With the arrival of spring and longer days, the night work was over and they burnt their rustic lamps in front of the workshops. It is easy to believe that the craftsmen used sawdust and old pieces of wood as well as old pieces of furniture to feed the fire. Moreover, to the standing lamp posts one could easily attach old clothes which would give them a human aspect. An old hat would represent an imaginary head. This is how the ninots (figures made for the Fallas) were born.
Eventually, these dummies were put on pedestals so that the people could see them more easily and laugh at them. When this happened, the real Valencian Falla was conceived. The fiesta was developed in the second half of the eighteenth century. Nowadays, the figures are ephemeral and satirical catafalques representing human figures, animals and plants, etc. exhibited in the streets and plazas to "comment on" current events, controversies, or a naughty neighbourhood story in a humorous way. All of these elements, materials and satires form the firewood for the gigantic and purifying bonfires that flare up at midnight on March 19th, the night of Saint Joseph.
This fire is a fiesta, the joyous and overwhelming exaltation of all the other celebrations that precede it during the week of festivities that is known as the Semana Fallera (Falles Week)..
On the 19th, at midnight, all the Fallas are burnt except for the prizewinning ninot (small Falle).
Useful external Valencia links about "Las Fallas":