Las Fallas

20 Dec

The Falles (Valencian: [ˈfaʎes], sing. FallaSpanishFallas) is a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph in Valencia, Spain. The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments created during the celebration. A number of towns in the Valencian Community have similar celebrations inspired in the original one from the city of Valencia.

Each neighbourhood of the city has an organized group of people, the Casal faller, that works all year long holding fundraising parties and dinners, usually featuring the famous specialty paella. Each casal faller produces a construction known as a falla which is eventually burnt. Acasal faller is also known as a comissió fallera.

Formerly, much time would also be spent at the Casal Faller preparing the ninots (Valencian for puppets or dolls). During the week leading up to March 19, each group takes its ninot out for a grand parade, and then mounts it, each on its own elaborate firecracker-filled cardboard and paper-mâché artistic monument in a street of the given neighbourhood. This whole assembly is a falla.

The ninots and their falles are developed according to an agreed upon theme that was, and continues to be, a satirical jab at anything or anyone unlucky enough to draw the attention of the critical eyes of the fallers – the celebrants themselves. In modern times, the whole two week long festival has spawned a huge local industry, to the point that an entire suburban area has been designated the City of Falles – Ciutat fallera. Here, crews of artists and artisans, sculptors, painters, and many others all spend months producing elaborate constructions of paper and wax, wood and styrofoam tableaux towering up to five stories, composed of fanciful figures in outrageous poses arranged in gravity-defying architecture, each produced at the direction of the many individual neighbourhood Casals faller who vie with each to attract the best artists, and then to create the most outrageous monument to their target. There are more than 500 different falles in Valencia, including those of other towns in the Valencian Community.

During Falles, many people from their casal faller dress in the regional and Valencia costumes from different eras of Valencia’s history — the dolçaina and tabalet (a kind of Valencian drum) are frequently heard, as most of the different casals fallers have their own traditional bands.

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2 Responses to “Las Fallas”

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  1. Valencia is on fire! | tripNETer - March 12, 2012

    […] Remember our post about Valencia? […]

  2. ….and tonight is it! Big night @ValenciaFallas2012 | tripNETer - March 19, 2012

    […] remember our two posts (this one and the other […]

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