Tag Archives: Falles

PassFire In Spain

Spanish Rocket - #PassFire Visit Spain

Team PassFire arrived in Spain (Valencia) in time for the Las Fallas Festival. Whilst this is widely attended by Pyro Freaks from around the World including a group of British Pro-firers and enthusiasts over there on a mission, there are also tens of thousands of firework lovers all there to see the spectacle for themselves.

Love KNO3 #PassFire Visit Spain

The Las Fallas Festival is what can only be described as utter madness with fireworks! The beautiful City of Valencia plays host to this event which has been celebrated since some point in the Middle Ages (11th to 15th century) and was thought to have been created by the artisans who disposed of broken art works and any off cuts or unusable pieces of wood and other combustible materials and made them into dressed figures and set them alight to welcome the Spring Equinox.

Fallas #PassFire Visit Spain

The event essentially is 5 days and nights of partying and includes along with the plethora of fireworks and bonfires a great many religious, comedic and historical Ninots (puppets or dolls). The types of ninots are usually determined as a ‘theme’ and they are absolutely spectacular.

Mascleta #PassFire Visit Spain

The main event ‘La Mascaleta’ is a barrage of fireworks and firecrackers which are fired at 2:00pm daily and the best of these is then selected to provide the finale ‘mascaleta of the fiesta’.

Mascleta Model #PassFire Visit Spain

The origin of the word ‘Mascaleta’ is from the latin for masculine (not unsurprising with big boys toys!) and Fallas is derived from the latin for torch so essentially Las Fallas Mascaleta translates as The Torch Man!!

Salutes #PassFire Visit Spain

The next stop on their tour to bring the world of fireworks and its relevant customs together in one film takes the Veverka Brothers over to Portugal and we will of course keep you posted on their exploits. More pics of the #PassFire project on our flickr channel.

Star Roller #PassFire Visit Spain

Whilst in Spain, Jesse and the #Passfire team ran into a little bit of trouble… Here’s a short extract of an email from Jesse Veverka…

“On a final note, you might have also heard that we successfully chased down a few bag thieves in Spain who tried to rob our camera equipment. It’s a true story. We got the bags back and even handed one of the thieves over to the cops. What can I say, the production must always go on!”

Great news Jesse – Be Water My Friend 😀

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Valencia Las Fallas Festival of Fire

In years gone by, as Spring approached and the days grew longer and lighter, the folk of Valencia used to burn leftovers or offcuts from around the neighbourhood. The lamp was ceremoniously placed into the town square, surrounded by rags with a hat etc on (kind of like a Guy Fawkes) calling it a Ninot or Falla.

On March 1st, the first string of firecrackers which are known as Mascletas is lit and fired in the Town Square heralds the beginning of the festival period which runs from 16th March to Midnight on 19th March 2014.

In the interim period, the area is lavishly decorated with more than 700 figures/effigies prior to the most spectacular event on 17th and 18th march between 4:00pm and Midnight including a parade, with members of the Fallas in their spectacular, beautifully created traditional costumes.

This beautiful and entertaining event which pokes fun at everyone equally, with references in a humorous way to sociopolitical situations all depicted by Fallas and Ninots since the mid 1800’s.

At midnight on the 19th, the festival closes with powerful imagery as the beautiful Fallas and Ninots are set alight apart from one which is voted for by the Falleros which will be kept in the Fallero Museum. There are, of course, lots of fireworks and a massive bonfire too.

Every year, hundreds of pyro madmen (not mad-men) go over to Valencia for this absolutely fascinating event which is loud, full of pyro and of course gives them a great opportunity to meet up before the wedding season starts in earnest and they are all back to being wet, muddy and smelling of fireworks day in, day out.

Good luck everyone in Valencia and we can look forward to some brilliant photographs and video footage.

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Las Fallas Festival of Fire in Valencia

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Aside from being the birthplace of Paella, the City of Valencia is also famous for the Las Fallas festival.

The Las Fallas festival is a traditional commemoration of one St Joseph (day of the father) and represents one of the two most famous events in Valencia annually. This year held from 1st to 19th March 2013.

The festival is thought to have started many centuries past when the city’s carpenters used to burn old pieces of scrap wood and worn out wooden utensils collected through the winter as a celebration of the feast of St Joseph.

The modern Las Fallas was created in the 19th century when prizes were awarded for the most creative use of leftover materials. Over time, there have been occasions when the Fiesta was banned as in 1870 when some of the images were not well received by local political representatives.

Nowadays, every year the ‘Fallas’ are created by numbers of different groups established specifically for the purpose of creating sculptures including puppets or dolls made from pappier mache to be burned on the last night of the festival. Up to 700 examples of these Fallas have created annually.

Some of the Ninot (dolls or puppets) are up to 20ft tall and will be mounted on their own Fallas as a representation of religious, historical and political figures. The groups tasked with creating these wonderful pieces are known collectively as Casal Faller.

The first day is when the competing Fallas all have to be ready to display and any not completed will not be included in the judging. The second and third days are dedicated to a Catholic Procession called La Ofrenda where flowers will be brought to the central plaza and added to a wooden framed statue of Mary and the bands will play music with a sassy Latin flavour.

There are 5-days of continuous partying processions and residents and visitors to the area are treated to a variety of firework displays every day and the streets are littered with pyro debris. There are representatives from around Europe all assisting in the lighting of the massive amount of pyro on offer.

Each day of this festival begins at 8.00am with a wake-up call from the brass bands marching down the streets of Valencia and surrounding districts and they are followed by the fallers throwing large firecrackers in the street as they go.

The Mascleta is a pyro-musical display which takes place in each neighbourhood at 2pm daily. The pyro-technicians compete for the honour of providing the finale ‘Mascleta’ of the Fiesta.

El Castillo is the final night of the festival and at Midnight, a display of fireworks which lights up the sky and will contain several tons of pyro makes this a magical place to be.

The final night of the festival is known as the ‘Crema’ (or the burning or cremation). All of the Ninots are then placed back onto there Fallas where the fireworks are lit first before the fire begins, reducing it all to ashes.

This year of course the festival has the added facet of having had a new Pope elected during the festival and as the festival is mainly for the Catholic faith, I am sure that the event will be more relevant than ever.

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