Every country has their own traditions and celebrations, including Valencia. Ls Fallas is the most unique festivals in Valencia, and the people of Valencia celebrate the festival every year, from 15 to 19 March. Las Fallas celebration holds a religious meaning for the people of Valencia. With its uniqueness and meaning, Las Fallas is truly one of the most unique festivals in the world. Therefore, we assume that fun Las Fallas facts would be a great food for thought for you.
Las Fallas celebration is very popular in Spain. It even inspires a lot of similar celebrations around the area. During the five days celebration, people in Valencia celebrate various events (no spoilers here, we’re going to elaborate it later on), which all are very interesting and awesome. If you want to learn more about the iconic festival, then don’t leave yet, and let’s explore Las Fallas fun facts together.
1. People Burn Monuments and Sculptures to Honor Saint Joseph
Normally, deliberately destroying a piece of art is not something that we’re keen on doing. However, most artists in Valencia probably can’t wait to build sculptures to burn during this annual celebration. Initially, the festival is an event to celebrate the coming of spring. However, the Roman Catholic Church also combines this tradition to honor Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.
Each year, artists will work hard to finish their sculptures. On the last day of Las Fallas, they will burn down those monuments and sculptures to honor Saint Joseph. Ariadna Gonzales was one of the artists who took part in the celebration of Las Fallas. According to her, when the sculptures are on fire, they’ll feel good, knowing that their work is finally complete. After that, they will prepare and create new sculptures for next year’s celebration. What a unique Las Fallas fact, isn’t it?
2. Each Neighborhood has a Committee to Manage the Ninots
The next Las Fallas fact is about “Ninots,” which are the Las Fallas celebration’s sculptures. Ninots are huge sculptures with a size of approximately 30 meters tall. Usually, they represent famous people like despised politicians or fairy tale characters. The city plaza will be full of Ninots starting from March 15th. To specifically manage all the funding to make Ninots, each neighborhood has their own organized group that works to collect fundings for this event.
The organized group, known better as the Casal faller, collects the fund to build Ninots. In addition, they also responsible for organizing parties and dinners. One of the most notable dishes is the paella. You should try it out!
3. What are Falleras Mayores, and Who is the Latest Winner?
The burning of Ninots is not the only highlight of Las Fallas celebration. Here’s another unique Las Fallas fact for you. During the festival, a Falleras mayores or the queen of the Fallas, will be chosen. The Queen will be accompanied by a group of 12 Falleras, called Corte de Honor. Together, they will take a flower to honor the Virgin Mary during the 17th and 18th of March celebration. Currently (as of 2022), the latest woman to be crowned Falleras Mayores is Carmen Martín Carbonell.
4. The Five-days Celebration is Full of Exciting Events
As we know, Las Fallas is a five-day event. During the event, there are a lots of exciting events that unfold in Valencia. On the first day there is the Planta, which is full of constructions of the Ninots. Around 750 sculptures will be ready by the morning of the next day. There is also Ninot Indultat, where the Judges will award the best Ninot assemble for the year (dubbed Ninot indultat). In turn, the best figure will be the only Ninot to burn at the event.
Next, you’ll have L’Ofrena de flors. The event of L’Ofrena de flors takes place for two days starting from March 17th. During this particular event, representatives will take an offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary, while flowers will cover the statue of Mary. And lastly, we’ll have the Crema, which is the ending and the climax of the festival. At the Crema, people will burn down Ninots at 10.00 pm sharp.
5. The Falleras and Falleros “Dress Code”
A special occasion requires a special dress code. For the Las Fallas festival, falleras (women of all ages) will be wearing colorful silk dresses with complicated yet adorable hairstyles. The dress consist of two parts, which include the skirt and the body. Each year, we’ll have new designs and fabrics. They also set their hair in three pieces to resemble twisted buns. In addition, women will also wear family heirlooms like necklaces and bracelets.
To complement the women, the falleros (men of all ages) also wore special suits, and they’re known as bluson. Although women can also wear bluson, it is actually a formal male attire for the event.
6. Firework Before Las Fallas
Although the Las Fallas celebration officially begins on March 15th, it doesn’t really stop the parade from starting out early. In fact, we can see and hear the fireworks and firecrackers around the la Plaza del Ayuntamiento at 2pm. This tradition will will take place starting from the 1st of March, until the last day of Las Fallas, which falls on the 19th of March. It is a beautiful piece of art to enjoy. However, there are several known issues where people complained about temporarily losing their hearings due to the intensity of the performance.
7. Unique Food for Las Fallas
This is probably one of the most tempting Las Fallas fact in this list. Well, it ain’t a party when it doesn’t have any tasty and unique food, right? Thankfully, Las Fallas celebration offers a huge selection of unique meals that you can try. You can see a lot of stalls and pop-up markets during the festival. Let’s take a look at some of the best dishes served during las fallas:
- Pumpkin bunuelos dunk in hot chocolate
- Paella Valenciana
- Horchata with fartons
- Chocolatería Valor
8. A Display Dedicated to Climate Change
Although the celebration of Las Fallas is all about burning monuments and sculptures, in 2022, Convento Jerusalen decided to create history by making a special fallas dedicated to climate change. He creates a falla that represents 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goal of making this special fallas is to further increase the awareness of the climate change issue that the world and our planet is dealing right now.
The making of these awesome fallas took around 315,000 euros. Why so expensive? Well it’s mainly because this particular sculpture depicts a lot of things, such as fairies, animals, and also mythological creatures. This victory is their second victory in a row, too! Followed by La Roqueta that finished in second place, while Cuba-Literato Azorin finished third.
9. Suspension of the Event
The people of Valencia can’t wait for the annual celebration of Las Fallas. However, there are some occasions in which the event has to be suspended. To date, the event has been suspended for five times, and the latest one was in 2020. Due to the pandemic, the government has decided to cancel 2020 Las Fallas celebration. However, thankfully Las Fallas celebration can continue in 2021 and 2022.
The Las Fallas festival has been cancelled for three years in a row during World War Two, from 1937 all the way to 1939. The first suspension of the event was in 1896 due to the war in Cuba.
10. Las Fallas has a Dedicated Museum
The opportunity to visit the Las Fallas festival would be wonderful. However, you shouldn’t afford to miss out on visiting the dedicated museum of Las Fallas, named Museu Faller de Valencia. In 2018 alone, there were a record number of 121,000 visitors for the year. Inside the museum, you can see a lot of Ninots that have “cheated death”” since 1934. Each year, there are two Ninots that were elected by popular vote to be crowned as the best ones. These Ninots are called Ninots Indultats.
11. Las Fallas Earned UNESCO Heritage Status
To be recognized by UNESCO is a great achievement to appreciate, and it’s one of the most rewarding Las Fallas facts for sure. In 2016, UNESCO granted a new status for Las Fallas, along with 15 other cultural traditions from all around the world. For your information, the UNESCO meeting took place in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The City mayor Joan Ribo and former “Fallas Queen” Raquel Alario were present during the glorious announcement. The inclusion in 2016 is a conclusion for a two-year-long campaign backed by authorities in Valencia.
12. As Fun as Las Fallas Can Be, They Have the Potential to be Dangerous
We have come to the last Las Fallas fact that you definitely need to know. We all know that when a festival or event involves burning things, accidents may happen, too. In fact, this very concern happened back in 2004. Back then, a teenager lost a finger whilst suffering serious burn injury during the festival. Authorities reported that the kid has brought 63 kgs worth of fireworks for the festival!
Since this awful news, there have been many reported incidents related to Las Fallas. Thankfully, none of them are serious injuries that can harm a person’s life. While it is cool to celebrate this joyous occasion, it’s wise to be cautious and follow all the protocols in order to ensure a safe Las Fallas festival!