Las Fallas is a 5-day annual celebration that takes place in Valencia, Spain, from March 15 to March 19. This festival involves making nintos (dolls or puppets), and setting it on fire. ‘Las Fallas’, in Valencian language, means ‘the fire’. These dolls are usually made up of wood, cardboard, paper, or plaster.
Las Fallas marks the beginning of spring and the end of winter season. Valencia, a calm city with population of a bit more than 1 million people, witnesses the celebration of more than 3 million people who love to express their feeling by setting puppets on fire.
Initially, these puppets were just dolls. However, gradually, they started becoming more lifelike, and express satirical or current events. Although there are various sizes of nintos found in the market, Some are as tall as the height of a 3-story building. Similarly, there are nintos for all kinds of pockets. One can find a really economical ninto, while it may also range up to $80,000.
The five-day event is divided in many parts namely La Despertà, La Mascletà, La Plantà, L’Ofrena floral, Els Castells and La Nit del Foc, and La Cremà.
Each day begins with La Despertà, which is a wakeup call, at aroud 5 am. In this, a big group of people (a band) plays loud music to wake up people.
At around 2 pm, La Mascletà takes place, which is a display of co-ordinated fireworks in all the areas of Valencia.
L’Ofrena floral is a very beautiful ceremony that takes place on March 17 and March 18, wherein the Virgin of Valencia are honored. Thousands of people from different parts of the world get together wearing traditional costumes, dance, and eventually go to the Plaza de la Virgen and offer flowers to the Virgin.
On the last day, La Cremà, people make holes in the nintos and stuff them with fireworks. At 12 midnight, all the street lights are turned off, and the nintos are set on fire. All the nintos are burned but one, which is selected among them as the best ninto, and is later placed in the local museum along with the spared nintos of last years. Las Fallas 2011 attracted huge participation, and Las Fallas 2012 is expected to attract the largest crowd ever.