Last night we survived the latest fireworks show I have ever seen, starting at 1:30 AM and lasting until nearly 2:00. Yes, the penultimate night of Fallas was a late one, but after sleeping in this morning I feel revived and good enough to go back tonight for the last night, Nit de Foc, where all of the ninots are burned. 

Since Las Fallas is a Valencian holiday, all of the names of the ceremonies are in Valenciano instead of Spanish. For example, "ninot" really means "muñeca" in Spanish which means "doll." "Nit de Foc" is "Noche de Fuego" or "night of fire" in English. We learned all about these days and events in Folklore so even though it's all in Valenciano, it makes sense. Well, it makes as much sense as a festival revolved around burning giant dolls can. It's very cool that we get to be here for Las Fallas and see Valencia's greatest holiday, but the whole thing really is quite strange to me. Valencians spend all year building these giant floats just to burn them. Plus the festivities last 3 or 4 days, not counting the whole month of March that leads up to it, which really seems like medieval times to me. 

So far we've gone to three days of Fallas. Last Monday Ana took us to see the Ninot Musuem where all of the smaller ones are displayed and you vote for your favorite that is to be saved from the fire. Picking a favorite was hard for me just because they were all so strange and all were designed to state something about society or politics or Valencia. On Sunday, we spend the day walking around and seeing everything in the day time and came back to campus for the evening. Getting around the city is no easy task though, so everything we did took twice as long as it usually does when we go to Valencia. The streets are packed, traffic is stopped, and there is a parade of women in Fallas dresses walking through town from about 4PM until nighttime, for two days in a row. I don't even know how they have enough people to walk for so many hours. These women each carry a bouquet of flowers and take them to a huge frame where men stuff them in to create a giant flower statue. It's not just women though, it's families, mothers, daughters, men, children, babies, each representing their pueblo in the region of Valencia. The dresses are all quite similar and we've been told that they can cost up to three thousand euros. 

Yesterday we went into the city a little later in the evening and walked around to see the first, second, and third prizes of the Ninots. There are two categories of Ninots, large and small, and one of each is saved from the fires of Fallas. However, obviously the big ones are too huge to keep and so they save only a small token of it. So it doesn't even matter if you win, all of your hard work gets burned. I don't understand it exactly, but I guess they don't mind. After that, we spend some time in Starbucks since the fireworks didn't start until 1:30. At last we made our way toward the park and got pretty good spots to see everything. While we waited an hour and a half, I began wishing we had decided to skip the fuego artificial and just go home. It was chilly, we were tired, and breathing was unpleasant since we found ourselves next to several groups enjoying their freedom to smoke excessively. However, once the show began I think we were all glad we stayed. It was the most impressive fireworks show I have ever seen, and it was so close, the sort of thing that would never, ever be allowed in the States. Fireworks in the middle of a city, in a dry river bed park with people so close that there was even a little bit of fiery debris raining down on us. It was so loud, but so spectacular and I was so glad we stayed to watch. When it was over we rushed to the metro and miraculously got our group of 12 back to the parking spot without any problems. Tonight we have the burning of the muñecas so hopefully we'll get home a little earlier. Here's a few pictures from the last few days!
3/18/2013 11:48:52 pm

I love hearing about Las Fallas. I remember looking at your calendar before you went to Spain wondering what Fallas vacation was. Now we know. That was quite a production. I'm so happy you are there for it. And tonight is the last night---so enjoy! We'll see you Thursday---can't wait!

Sheri Seibold
3/19/2013 11:29:07 pm

Oh, that is art that should not be burned, and the dresses are beautiful, though a little loud for me. ha ha.

Donna Krogstad
3/24/2013 09:34:31 am

So anxious to hear about the fun you, your Mom and Grandma are having! Aunt Donna

Tu Tia Carmen
4/9/2013 09:25:08 am

Nooooooooooooooo.........don't burn those amazing things!!!!! Don't know how I missed your Fallas descriptions earlier. Now I want to experience Fallas myself, soon.

Your shot of the fuego artificial is the best. ever.



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