Skip to content
The Ultimate Guide to Las Fallas Festival in Valencia

The Ultimate Guide to Las Fallas Festival in Valencia

As well as being the birthplace of Paella, the City of Valencia is also famous for the Las Fallas festival - the ultimate festival of fire and fun held every year from the 1st to 19th March.

Rooted in centuries-old customs and folklore, Las Fallas is a spectacle like no other, drawing visitors from far and wide to witness its spectacular displays and immerse themselves in its lively festivities.

History of Las Fallas Fireworks

Las Fallas fireworks have a rich and vibrant history that dates back centuries.

Originally, the festival began as a celebration of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, where artisans would burn their wooden workbenches and offcuts in bonfires on the feast day of Saint Joseph. Over time, these humble bonfires evolved into the elaborate pyrotechnic displays that we see today.

Throughout the years, Las Fallas fireworks have continued to evolve, incorporating new techniques and technologies to create ever more dazzling displays. Today, they are a highlight of the festival, drawing crowds from around the world to marvel at their beauty and brilliance.

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.

As Las Fallas grew in popularity and prominence, so too did the scale and complexity of its fireworks displays. Pyrotechnicians began experimenting with new techniques and technologies, incorporating larger and more intricate fireworks to dazzle audiences and create ever more breathtaking spectacles.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Las Fallas fireworks underwent a period of rapid expansion and innovation, thanks in part to the advancements made in pyrotechnic science and manufacturing. This era saw the introduction of aerial shells, rockets, and other sophisticated fireworks that could produce dazzling visual effects and fill the night sky with bursts of colour and light.

Las Fallas fireworks have also played a significant role in the preservation of Valencia's cultural heritage. In 2016, the festival was recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, cementing its status as a cherished tradition with global significance.

Significance and Symbolism

Las Fallas fireworks hold deep significance within the cultural fabric of Valencia, symbolising a myriad of themes and values cherished by the community.

Firstly, they represent the spirit of resilience and renewal, echoing the festival's origins in the burning of wooden structures to welcome the arrival of spring and new beginnings.

The vibrant explosions of colour and sound symbolise the collective joy and camaraderie shared among the festival-goers.

Furthermore, Las Fallas fireworks serve as a testament to the city's artistic and creative prowess. Each display is meticulously crafted, blending traditional techniques with modern innovation to create stunning visual spectacles that captivate audiences of all ages. In this way, the fireworks pay homage to Valencia's rich cultural heritage while also embracing the spirit of innovation and progress.

Types of Las Fallas Fireworks

Las Fallas fireworks come in a diverse range of forms, each adding its own unique flair to the festivities. Here are some of the most prominent types:

  1. Mascletàs: These daytime fireworks displays are known for their intense, rhythmic explosions of noise rather than visual effects. Held in the city's main square, mascletàs feature a sequence of loud bangs and booms that reverberate through the streets.
  2. Castillos: Also known as "firework castles," these night time displays are characterised by their elaborate choreography of aerial fireworks. Castillos often feature intricate patterns, cascading showers of sparks, and vibrant bursts of colour, creating a spectacle against the backdrop of the night sky.
  3. Correfocs: Translating to "fire runs," correfocs are lively street parades where participants dressed as devils and other mythical creatures wield handheld fireworks and sparklers. These interactive displays blur the lines between performers and spectators, inviting everyone to join in the fiery fun.
  4. Nit del Foc: Meaning "Night of Fire," this grand finale event marks the culmination of the Las Fallas festivities with an extravagant display of pyrotechnics. Nit del Foc showcases the most elaborate and awe-inspiring fireworks of the entire festival.
  5. Bulls of Fire: In this unique spectacle, participants dressed as bulls run through the streets carrying flaming torches, symbolising the spirit of bravery and courage. The bulls of fire add an element of danger and excitement to the festival, as participants navigate the crowded streets with the swirling flames.
  6. Cremà: The culmination of Las Fallas festivities, the cremà is the ceremonial burning of the elaborate papier-mâché sculptures known as ninots. While not technically fireworks, the burning of the ninots is accompanied by a spectacular display of pyrotechnics, including firecrackers, rockets, and aerial shells, creating a fitting finale to the festival.

The Ninots and Fallas

Nowadays, the ‘Fallas’ are created by numbers of different groups established specifically for the purpose of creating sculptures including puppets or dolls, aka the ninots. Each one is made from papier mache and is to be burned on the last night of the festival with up to 700 examples 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.

Over the years, Las Fallas has paid tribute to a wide array of famous individuals by immortalising them in the form of ninots. Here are some notable examples of famous people who have been made into ninots:

  1. Political Figures: Political leaders and public figures have often been the subject of ninots, reflecting the political climate and current events of the time. Past ninots have depicted politicians such as Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, former U.S. President Donald Trump, and various local and regional politicians.
  2. Celebrities: From actors and musicians to athletes and cultural icons, celebrities from around the world have been immortalised as ninots. Past examples include ninots depicting famous figures such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi.
  3. Historical Figures: Ninots have also paid homage to historical figures who have left a lasting impact on society. Past examples include ninots depicting historical figures such as William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Cleopatra, and Joan of Arc.
  4. Cartoon Characters: Popular cartoon characters and fictional personalities have been a favourite subject for ninots, appealing to audiences of all ages. Past examples include ninots depicting characters from cartoons, comic books, and animated films such as Mickey Mouse, SpongeBob SquarePants, Batman, and Harry Potter.
  5. Local Heroes: In addition to global celebrities, ninots have also celebrated local heroes and cultural figures who hold a special place in the hearts of Valencians. Past examples include ninots depicting local artists, musicians, athletes, and other notable personalities who have made significant contributions to the community.

What Happens During the Las Fallas Festival?

During the Las Fallas festival, which typically spans from March 15th to March 19th, each day is filled with unique events and activities that contribute to the vibrant atmosphere of the celebration. 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.

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

Here's a breakdown of what happens on the different days of the festival:

March 1st to 14th - Officially the festival does not get into the full swing of things until the 15th of March but from the 1st of the month, at 2pm daily, there is a Mascleta (firework display) outside the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. These pyrotechnic shows feature a rhythmic sequence of explosions that crescendo into a deafening finale, aka the terramoto (earthquake) where hundreds of the firecrackers all explode simultaneously. The pyro-technicians compete for the honour of providing the finale ‘Mascleta’ of the Fiesta.

March 15th - La Plantà (The Planting): The festival kicks off with the construction and installation of the intricate ninots, or papier-mâché sculptures, throughout the city. This process, known as la Plantà, involves teams of artists and craftsmen working tirelessly to erect the towering structures in various neighbourhoods and public squares. 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.

March 16th & 17th - La Ofrenda (The Offering): On this day, thousands of falleros and falleras, dressed in traditional Valencian attire, participate in the elaborate procession known as la Ofrenda. They carry flowers to the Plaza de la Virgen, where they create a monumental floral offering to the Virgin Mary, symbolising gratitude and devotion.

March 18th - La Nit del Foc (The Night of Fire): As night falls, the streets come alive with the dazzling displays of pyrotechnics known as la nit del foc. These spectacular fireworks shows illuminate the sky with bursts of colour and light, captivating audiences with their beauty and brilliance.

March 19th - La Cremà (The Burning): The culmination of Las Fallas, la Cremà (or the burning or cremation) is the ceremonial burning of the ninots. At the stroke of midnight, the streets erupt in flames as the intricately crafted sculptures are set ablaze in a spectacular display of pyrotechnics. This symbolic act marks the end of the festival and serves as a cathartic release of energy and emotion.

Throughout the festival, the streets are also filled with music, dance, parades, and other cultural events, creating a festive atmosphere that brings the entire city together in celebration. Las Fallas is a time for Valencians to honour their heritage, express their creativity, and revel in the joy of community and camaraderie.

Create Your Own Mascleta

Here at Epic Fireworks we stock the largest range of market-beating fireworks you can buy in the UK and all at unbeatable prices. So whether you're looking for rockets, barrages, loud fireworks, quiet fireworks, mines, fountains or anything else, we've got you covered.

Plus, our expert team have curated ready-made DIY display packs, taking the guesswork out of how to put on a great fireworks show for your friends and family.

Shop the full range of display packs today

A photo of one of the Epic Fireworks New Year's DIY Display packs, showing the wide range of barrages, mines, fountains and rockets included as well as the safety equipment.

Previous article Experience the Magic of Lake Toyako Summer Fireworks 2024

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields