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Spanish Sundays – Fallas

Spanish Sundays is my regular weekly post that steps out of teaching and provides a window into Spain. This week, Fallas.

Fallas is the regional fiesta for the Valencian autonomous region of Spain. With events running from the start of March until the 19th March it is allegedly the second biggest fiesta in the world after the Rio carnival.

Fallas is about colour, ultimately about fire and consistently about noise. The noise of Fallas is something that cannot be described. From early morning fireworks to wake the city the noise never stops. Perhaps the most spectacular noise of them all is the mascleta. The video below is of the mascleta in Alzira at 2pm on Sunday March 15th, 2015.

No video can possibly do justice to the noise of a mascleta. (If you need to hop straight into the action fast forward to 4.30 and see the ground shaking finale.) An explosion of fireworks set off at 2pm each day the mascleta shakes the ground and the force of the explosions blows back on the crowd as the smoke fills the sky and blocks out the sun.

Smoke from a mascleta in Alzira, 2015

The smoke from a mascleta blocking the sun

But Fallas is more than just noise. In the final week before March 19th towns fill with the most intricate and brightly coloured models.

Fallas model in Alzira 2015

Fallas, Alzira 2015

Standing several stories high these models dominate the streets of every town. They reflect a full year of work in design and construction and sometimes have a satirical message. They exist just for a moment and then on the evening of March 19th, an evening known as the ‘crema’, they are burnt in an elaborate firework spectacle that last through the night with the final models disappearing in flames in the early hours of the morning.

You can see pictures of Fallas and watch videos but nothing on screen will do justice to the largest fiesta in Spain.

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