A Photo Essay Of The Best Fallas

with 17 Comments

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 Responses

  1. Nathan
    | Reply

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

  2. Turtle
    | Reply

    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! 🙂

    • Laura
      | Reply

      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.

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

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Oh, there were even creepier ones, but I just made a selection of the ones I liked best 🙂

  4. Colm Hanratty
    | Reply

    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.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      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…

  5. Alexa Meisler
    | Reply

    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!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      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 🙂

  6. Laura
    | Reply

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

  7. D Travels Round
    | Reply

    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!

  8. Laura
    | Reply

    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.

  9. Angela
    | Reply

    Wow, lovely pictures!

  10. Abby
    | Reply

    I love that every one gets a prize!

  11. Laura
    | Reply

    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!)

  12. Wow amazing! LOVE the elephant!!!

  13. 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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