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Travel Spain: Fallas in Valencia 2016 by #SuzyDias

This may be my last Fallas for quite a while. It’s absolutely the most dynamic time of year in Valencia, when the city is its most creative, vibrant, and fully awake (not sleepy town summer holiday). Kids are popping firecrackers non-stop, many which would be illegal in most countries (though I’d love it if I was a kid). Shops and restaurants that are barely open the rest of the year are suddenly standing at attention and ready to take as many hungry tourists as they can squeeze them into their establishments. Falleras in beautiful traditional dresses adorned with gold hair combs, lacy everything, and Princess Leia-esque buns are closely followed by their entourage – a brass band also dressed in traditional Valencian garb.

And then there are the ninots – those whimsically jaw dropping structures that reach for the heavens. They’re made with such love and attention to detail, it’s hard to believe they construct them in a week and then burn them all down to the ground on the night of March 19th – also known as La Cremà. The way I see it, cremation = la cremación = la cremà. At least, that’s almost what it feels like…a New Orleans type festive funeral where no one actually dies.

Each ninot is incinerated as an appreciative audience cheers and a brass band plays their upbeat version of a funeral dirge (I’m taking artistic license here). As the ninot gives up the ghost and falls into pile of ashes, each spectator’s face burns hot from the flames. That’s when firefighters mercifully douse the flames and cool the scene down, and then move on to the next scheduled burning, where a new crowd anxiously awaits. It’s a wonderfully unique and cathartic experience that I would highly recommend to any traveler to Spain.

» Click here for the main Travel Spain: Fallas in Valencia! post with links to all of my photos and amateur videos from 2013 – 2016.