(During Fallas festival).
Las Fallas (15 – 16 – 17 – 18 & 19 March)
The Fallas festivities are the expression of a unique kind of art using large wooden structures covered with painted papier-mâché. Recently, however, other materials are also coming into use.
This festival is also a satirical and ironic vision of local, provincial, national and even international problems and themes.
The Fallas criticize almost everything and everyone imaginable, although they do so with tongue in cheek. Over 370 full-scale fallas and 368 children’s fallas are mounted throughout the city, and some of these reach extravagant heights, although they do not usually exceed 20 metres.
Each falla elects their own Fallas Queen from among the Fallas maidens who form the court of honour of that particular Falla. Towards the end of the year, they present one of these lovely ladies – not necessarily their Fallas Queen – to the competition from which the judges will chose the thirteen Valencian women who will make up the court of honour of the main Fallas Queen of the entire city of Valencia. Children’s fallas follow the same process.
For many years, the Fallas Queen of Valencia was chosen by the Mayor, who was the honourary president of the Central Fallas Committee called the “Junta Central Fallera”, responsible for coordinating all of the Fallas commissions. For this reason, the election of the Queen would often correspond to women belonging to the most representative families of the city. Thus the Fallas Queen roster contained many illustrious surnames such as Franco, Suarez, Fernández de Córdoba, and others.
Saying all that, the people, the place and the free spirit of Valencia are just as interesting. This is why I was more interested about what was happening around the festival rather than the festival itself.