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Las Fallas

The middle of March in the city of Valencia, sees the start of Fallas (pronounced- Fay-as)
A Valencian community festival that is simply too difficult to put into words! It is a festival that, I believe over time, will become more and more popular. Hoards of revellers descend upon the city through the days and nights, with not a single car on the roads. It is almost apocolyptic- bodies everywhere and strange figurines lining every street corner.

Fallas symbolises the end of Winter, and the start of Spring; the end of any negativity from the previous year, and the start of new beginnings. Fireworks are set off every night to masses of people filling the city streets. Cannon sounding fireworks are set off at 2pm every in the city square, to the point of making the surrounding buildings shake and your heart feel as though it is about to explode out of your chest. There are thousands; it can only be described as almost breaking the sound barrier. This is known as a Mascleta.
Children with firecrackers and mini fireworks throw them onto the pavements, whilst pedestrians get hit on the foot at every step- the scene outrageous to those who abide by health & safety regulations everyday.

Fallas brings girls and boys, men and women, dressed in Fallera or Fallero outfits. These are stunning, regal and glistening in the sunshine; the effort gone into making the dresses is clear, with every fine detail done to perfection. Their hair is braided into two buns at the side of their head, and their make-up flawless. It really is a wonderful sight to see. Falleras and Falleros have been members of what is a called a Falla, which is similar to the british version of a social club; a place to meet, have a drink and some food and prepare for the biggest event of the Valencian calendar!

Fallas is about designing and building tall figures and scenes from the public eye in the previous year. On the 19th, the final day of the celebration, the statues are set alight by the firefighters. Cheering and clapping ensues, while the 80ft statues burn to ash and smoke chokes the air.

The city turns into a fascinating scene; street vendors galore, with the traditional food being Churros dipped in warm, melted chocolate. The weather in Valencia ensures it is a warm, sunny affair where you are sure to catch a tan, waiting for the Mascleta in the heat of the day.

Valencia is fairly unknown compared to most other major cities in Spain, even though it is the third largest city and an important hub for import and export goods. Fallas is a festival that is not to be missed; incomparable to any other Spanish fiesta of the year.

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