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A Photo Essay Of 2012's Best Fallas

Las Fallas is the biggest festival celebrated in the city of Valencia, Spain and it is held every year between the 1st and the 19th of March. It is a crazy and noisy, but family friendly festival. We literally took thousands of photos during this year's Las Fallas.

This is a photo essay of our favorite fallas this year. The fallas are papier-mache dolls with a wood structure. They can be anything from 3 meters high to 4 story high. They are on display throughout Valencia for a few days and dramatically burned on the night of 19th of March under the eyes of millions of tourists and locals.

This pretty face is a detail of the falla that got the second prize

The winning falla of 2012. It was huge! See how small the people around it are

To grasp a sense of how big these papier mache statues are, look at the men in the book

Over 700 fallas are erected in Valencia each year. Half of them are no more than 3 meters high and they are built for the children

The fallas are usually humorous and satirical and criticize personalities and behaviors 

There are many prize categories and no falla is left without a prize

This was a gorgeous falla on the theme of Mother Africa. We saw it burning on the night of the 19th of March

Las Fallas are a Valencian traditional celebration in praise of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of the carpenters

Some fallas are a few stories high. They are the ones competing in the special category

These papier mache dolls have a wood structure

Every falla tells a story. You really need to be aware of the major events of the past year to grasp their message

But sometimes the fallas are just the embodiment of an idiom

Falla in front of the Town Hall. It does not participate in any contest

My husband loved this stylish French lady. Luckily they've burned it and once again I can sleep without worries ;)

Only 2 small puppets are saved from the fire every year and they are kept in the Fallero Museum next to
 the City of Arts and Sciences. The museum can be visited year round and it hosts fallas from the last 80 years

This was may favorite falla this year. Unfortunately of won only the 6th prize

This girl is part of the above falla. She was gorgeous

The fat guy represent the US and the turkey in his hand is Europe. It doesn't look good!

Ultrasound showing baby with iPod. Are we a doomed species?

I'm a crazy cat lady and I always like to spot cats in fallas

No matter how big a falla, it will burn in less than 30 minutes. It is very important for the fallas to be built right and collapse within themselves, not fall on the
surrounding buildings and the people watching them burn

Artists work year round to build these amazing puppets

The most expensive falla ever was built in 2009 and cost almost 1 million euro

Let the fire purify it all. The heat can be unbearable if you are too close to the fire

Millions of euro are just being burned

This was the second falla we saw burning this year. It's not easy to see more than one as they are burned more or less  at the same time.
Just as this falla caught fire, a nasty wind started, and rain followed

The firemen have to be next to each burning falla to prevent buildings from catching fire. They get help from other fireman teams from outside Valencia.
On the night of the 19th of March, the protagonist is the fire, but the heroes are the firemen.

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17 comments:

  1. I never knew about Las Fallas, but now I've seen them! Hailing from sober Holland, I so enjoy seeing and learning about the exuberant fiestas and celebrations in other countries. It must have been fun just taking those photos. Very cool.

    In Ghana, even a funeral is a party, complete with coffins carved like fish, sneakers, cars or cell phones!

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  2. Miss Footloose, it was fun, all of it, and it went on and on days on end. I didn't know that detail about Ghana, very interesting!

    Andi, that's expected, given your passion for elephants. It was super extra cute, I must say (the whole of it!)

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  3. I love that every one gets a prize!

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  4. Abby, yeah, that's great! And one more detail, the prizes don't involve money, but flags.

    Angela, thank you! Las Fallas is a very colorful festival.

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  5. I would LOVE to attend this! It is amazing to see the amount of detail and work that goes into these and then the burn!

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  6. It is an amazing festival, you should definitely attend next year. Give us a shout if you are around :)

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  7. Each one is truly amazing. I wonder how long these were made? I can't believe that millions of euros worth of papier maches were just burnt. I do want to see and experience this festival though. Great pictures!

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    1. For the big fallas it takes months of work. The one that got the 1st prize this year cost 400.000euro. Smaller ones cost less, obviously, but they are many (over 700). It's not only the materials (papier mache, paint, wood) that cost money, it's also the wages of the artists and the workers, the renting of the workshops where everything is made and eventually the transportation of the pieces to the streets of Valencia in trucks, and the putting together of the pieces with the help of cranes. It all costs money. But I agree with you, you need to see it to believe it :)

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  8. Was at this festival last year. One of the most amazing festivals ever I've ever been to. Hardly got a wink of sleep due to the firecrackers! And easily, easily, easily the biggest fireworks display I've ever witnessed.

    Great shots - captures the 'fallas' well.

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    1. LOL, I always hear about people not being able to sleep during Las Fallas because of the firecrackers. I've never had this problem. I guess I am immune to firecrackers :) Plus the firecrackers stop after 1 or 2am when most people go to bed...

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  9. These are so amazing - I've never heard of Las Fallas before! Some are beautiful, some are creepy, but all of them look incredible.

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    1. Oh, there were even creepier ones, but I just made a selection of the ones I liked best :)

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  10. I had never heard of Las Fallas before - have I been living under a rock or is it not particularly well-known?
    Well, regardless, the photos are amazing and I now feel like I've been there myself! :)

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    1. Judging by the number of people that flock to Valencia every March, I would say Las Fallas is a fairly well known festival. It is say that about 2 million tourists attend the festivities ever year. And while not everybody heard about Las Fallas before, I really don't know how many more people Valencia could handle during these day, as the number of people on the streets is so great that sometimes even the pedestrian traffic comes to a halt. No need to say there are no cars allowed in the city center.

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  11. Never heard of it before, but it looks very intriguing. The pictures are great and tell a great tale. Thank you for sharing

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