Las Fallas are the traditional festivals of the month of March in the city of Valencia and other towns of the Valencian Community. It is also known as fiestas josefinas or festes de Sant Josep (in Valencian) in honor of San Jose, the patron of the carpenters, a guild very widespread in the region.
It is considered one of the most important festivals in Spain classified as an event of International Tourist Interest and included in the representative list of Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The word “falla” in medieval Valencian comes from the Latin fac[u]la, diminutive of torch of those which were placed at the top of the watchtowers. There are many theories about the origin of the tradition. Some believe that the “fallas” find their origins in pagan rituals of worshiping fire. However the most popular version is that the tradition was initiated by the guild of carpenters in Valencia who burned on the eve of the day of the patron Saint Joseph, in a purifying bonfire, the chips and old surpluses to clean the workshops just before the spring equinox.
The festival is organized by the called “falleras” committees that promote fairs and construction of “fallero” monuments throughout the city. The impression is that there is a “falla” in every corner of Valencia where people come together to celebrate and enjoy the popular Valencian culture.
The “fallero” monuments are allegorical constructions that usually have several meters high… Usually, they are inspired in subjects of the everyday life generally of critical and satirical nature with the biggest ones surpassing the 30 meters surrounded by figures of cardboard, clay model, stone, polyurethane, supported by a wooden frame. The visitors and neighbors have a chance to vote for the monument that he or she likes best whether because of its originality or its design.
The tourists who go to the party are amazed, besides the beauty of the “fallero” monuments, by the joy of the people on the streets. It is as if the whole town were partying with families gathering with friends on the streets, parades of bands, local men, women and children dressed up in traditional Valencian costumes. The extension of the festivities in the Valencia downtown area makes the visit to the party a program of many hours or even days. You have to walk a lot to cover the whole festival to get to know each “falleros” monument and the meaning of each allegorical construction. This all watered with plenty of food, drink and joy of the Valencian people. In short, it’s a huge festival!!!