After almost a year of preparations and two weeks various celebrations, Valencia overflows with gaiety, energy and fireworks during the celebration of its Major Festival: the Fallas . This regional capital by the

Fallas portray scathing critical

and often humorous expressions of important events, both nationally and internationally.

The Fallas, from 13th to 19th of March, are creations of paper mache, wood and wax, which the Valencians, divided into different groups according to quarters or neighborhoods and even streets, build in the streets and burn on the night of the feast of St. Joseph. These figures, called "ninots" by the Valencians, allude to events and personalities of the day. The ninots, half satirical, half symbolical, are created in a style somewhere between comic strips and Walt Disney cartoons. The figures, which represent a whole year's work for hundreds of people, are burnt on the night of March 19th in towering flames, and each bonfire is a temple devoted to this colossal festival of fire. From that time he has used fire to overcome the darkness of the night, to cook food, to defend himself from enemies, and even as a means of communication. There are many human rituals in which the main protagonist is fire. In Spain, on the night of St. Joseph, St. John and St. Anthony, honor is rendered to those saints by burning of huge bonfires. For one week the Valencians and their visitors are both spectators and participants in a spectacle which goes beyond the walls of the great theater which this city becomes. The tourist influx and the international projection of the Fallas grows every year. When man discovered fire he was marveling before such a strange phenomenon.

The first two agree that the celebration of the Fallas began in the Middle Ages. Vicente Salvador considers that the origin of the Fallas could have happened at the time of the medieval guilds. On

the night of St. Joseph the carpenters' guild used to light a bonfire in honor of their saint. In it, they burnt the pole on which they had kept their lamp during the winter - the station and the sweepings from the workshop. Which the passage of time, however, matting and various old pieces of junk were added. The custom of burning an effigy in the blaze is somewhat subsequent. The feuds

Between the different workshops provoked the creation of grotesque figures which represented rivals, for the purpose of making everyone laugh at them. The second theory, that of Sol, suggests that the present tradition of lighting bonfires in honor of the saints arose from pagan customs which Christianity made its own, it was too difficult to prohibit or condemn them, since they were already ceremonies of great popularity. The theory of the Ninot in the middle of Lent, the third, relates that during the 17th century, effigies tied to a stick were burnt in the market place. It would seem that the first of these represented Mahomet. This act brought together a large number of townsfolk who celebrated the burning.

Caesalpiniaceae photos on Flickr | Flickr
- Scientific or Latin name: Delonix regia (Bojer) Raf. - Common or common name: Flamboyan, Flamboyant, Flame tree. - Deciduous tree 6-8 m high, with the parasolated crown and somewhat twisted trunk of gray bark, somewhat rough .

The first written testimonies of the Valencian Fallas date from the middle of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. By this time, the protagonist of the Falla festival was the fire and the effigies, as well as the entire town formed part of this splendid spectacle. This aspect has confirmed Valencia's position as one of the most entertaining cities in Europe.

The "mascletá" is the noisiest act of the whole failure celebration. rows of, and single, firecrackers (by the thousands), making valencia as deafening as the shot heard around the world.
The "Mascletá" is the noisiest act of the whole Fallas celebration. Rows of, and single, firecrackers (by the thousands), making Valencia as deafening as the shot heard around the world.

The Exaltation is, with the Offering of Flowers, one of the most colorful moments of the Fallas. In this ceremony, Valencians and the various institutions pay homage to the Falla Queens who receive their sashes and jewels of office in the Palau de la Musica. Attendant Courts of the Falla Queen and the Falla Princess go up to the stage, the place begins to be filled with baskets of flowers donated by Valencian and a few Spanish collectives. One of the most important figures at the Exaltation is the chairman, who represents the world of culture and makes a speech to all those present who can be a justifatory or political nature or poetic.

The Offering of Flowers to Our Lady of the Foresaken in the ceremony for which Valencia is entirely dressed in her best and renders homage to the feet of her patron saint, offering thousands of bouquets of flowers, baskets of posies and floral shrine arrangements. During the twenty-four hours which the Offering lasts, the Virgin, fondly referred to by the Valencians as "Geperudeta", receives her tribute. On this day, the sobriquet of Valencia, city of flowers becomes reality, and the Basilica square is turned into a beautiful and colorful garden, with more than thirty shades of flowers decorating just one of the main squares of the city.

The culminating night of the "Crema".

The Crema is the culmination of the Fallas. For some it is the saddest moment, while for others it is the high point of the festival. On the night of the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, the Fallas are lit. The last effigies to be devoured by the flames are those Fallas that have been awarded prizes by the

Genrakl Fallas Committee and those in the City Hall square. Only one "ninot" is saved each year, from the flames by popular vote, and exhibited in the Museum of the Ninot together with those of several years which won the same privilege. Kilos and kilos of fireworks surround the monuments. At about midnight Valencia goes up in flames. The spectacle of the fire and noise, produced by more than three hundred fires spread throughout the city, is quite something to see!