Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the most spectacular, complete fiesta on earth.
It takes place in March and is intended as a tribute to St. Joseph, patron saint of the carpenters’ guild, where – it is said – the tradition arose from. The basis of the fiesta, as is well-known, is the “Fallas” monuments. In a display of art, though also of irony and humour, they are exhibited in the streets during Fallas week, between the 15th and 19th of March. On the last day, at midnight, they are set on fire and burn in immense, spectacularly beautiful pyres.
The Fallas are not just that, though. During the fiesta days – and even weeks beforehand – the streets are alive with fireworks displays, music bands, artistic lighting, street performances, parades…
It is also a fiesta with a complex, well-tuned business and administrative structure: the Junta Central Fallera (or Fallas Central Board) is its governing body and organizes all official events. Every monument is set up by an association called a “comisión fallera” (Fallas Committee), managed by its members, the “Falleros”. During each Fallas Year (which officially begins on March 20th and ends the following March 19th), they meet periodically to decide on the fiesta’s main lines of action.
All kinds of activities take place throughout the whole year: from sporting (Valencian pelota and football championships,…) to cultural events (theatre, poetry or dancing contests…) plus displays of Valencia’s own folklore, traditions and customs. Many of these activities are organised by the Fallas Committees themselves, complementing the work of the Junta Central Fallera.
The total number of Falleros and Falleras now easily surpasses a hundred thousand people. In fact, though, the whole of Valencia takes part in the Fallas Festival, which has reached a high status in the city’s social and cultural life.
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