Las Fallas is this major celebration held in honor of St. Joseph. Its a huge celebration held over two weeks but the last 5 days are crucial. (really only the last day when La Crema) Leading up to the last day, each group brings their ninot(which are puppets or dolls) to the grande parade and then mount their ninot on their designated street. During the course of the five days there are scheduled activities held throughout the streets.
I went on Sunday, March 19th which is the completion of the festival. I went with a tour group and we arrived in Valencia just in time for La Mascleta. La Mascleta is a coordinated loud mess lol. Pretty much the town lets off firecrackers for about 5-10 minutes and a massive amount of people gather in the town square to listen and cheer as the firecrackers go off. Now, you would think that no more firecrackers would go off after this but no I was wrong, little children and adults let off firecrackers throughout the remainder of the day in the middle of the streets and on the sidewalks.
After viewing all of the ninots, my group explored a little of the city. We walked to the edge of the town and went and saw L´Algora, L´Oceanografic, City of Arts and Science, L´Umbracle, and this cool little kids park lol.
After La Mascleta, a host of other activities occur until it is time for La Crema (burning of the ninots). La Crema occurs at night, 10pm for the small ninots and midnight for the large ninots. Before La Crema occurs, you guessed it, more firecrackers and fireworks are let of. As the ninots are burning, classical(well I don´t really know but almost like opera and of course in spanish) music was played.
I must say though, no matter where I go I can find similarities between the culture I am visiting and my culture. Las Fallas kind of reminds me of Junkanoo because the way they make their ninots is by having a structure to hold the shape and putting paper-mache around it to make it beautiful and tell the story. Junkanoo pieces are made the same way.
Valencia is the home of paella and can you believe I didn´t have any while I was there. It gets so crowded that apparently people make reservations months in advance to the restaurant of their choice. We were able to get a reservation at this place but by the time we go there, all the paella was done. They had some type of fish rice that was good but it wasn´t paella. The restaurant ended up being a great choice though because it was right in front of the ninots. I was able to watch the smaller ninot burn from the inside of the restaurant.
Overall, Las Fallas was a great experience but I will have to go back to experience what Valencia is truly about another time.