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Las Fallas in Valencia: Ultimate Guide to an Epic Festival

statue from Las Fallas de Valencia
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Valencia is known for its delicious paella, stunning architecture, and beautiful beaches. But there’s one event that takes place in this vibrant city that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. 

I’m talking about Las Fallas, a Valencian festival that’s as loud, colorful, and exciting as they come. For five days and nights (at least the main part – the party starts well before that, in reality), the city is transformed into a giant street party, complete with fireworks, parades, and, of course, the burning of gigantic sculptures. 

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience that will leave you breathless and wanting more, then you simply cannot miss Las Fallas in Valencia. After all, I live in Valencia and have experienced this festival on a number of occasions, so I’m here to give you the local ins and outs to make the most of your time in Valencia during this epic celebration.

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⭐ Top tours in Valencia

  1. City Highlights Guided Bike Tour (great way to see the city)
  2. Palosanto Flamenco Show (incredible night out)
  3. Old Town Tour, Wine and Tapas in an 11th Century Monument (all the highlights at once)
  4. Catamaran Cruise at Sunset (experience the Mediterranean – with cava)
  5. Oceanogràfic – Valencia Aquarium (biggest one in Europe!)

🛏️ Top hotels in Valencia

  1. Only YOU Hotel Valencia (5-star luxury)
  2. Vincci Palace (boutique hotel with beautiful décor)
  3. Hostal Antigua Morellana (great budget option in a superb location)

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History of Las Fallas de Valencia

Origins of Las Fallas

You might be surprised to learn that Las Fallas de Valencia, one of Spain’s most famous festivals and easily one of the most famous things in Valencia actually has pagan roots. 

That is, the festival originated in the Middle Ages, when carpenters would burn their old tools and wooden support structures on the feast day of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. This was a way to celebrate the arrival of spring and to clear out space for new tools and materials. 

Over time, the festival evolved to include the creation of satirical characters made of wood and cardboard, which were also burned at the end of the festival. These characters, known as fallas, were often caricatures of politicians or other public figures, and were meant to be a humorous commentary on current events.

Evolution of Las Fallas

As the festival grew in popularity, the fallas became more elaborate and artistic. Today, the fallas are created by teams of artists known as artista falleros, who spend months designing and building the structures out of polystyrene foam and other modern materials. 

In addition to the burning of the fallas, the festival also includes parades, fireworks, and other cultural events. In 2016, Las Fallas de Valencia was recognized as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, highlighting its importance to the Valencian people and to the wider world. 

So if you’re looking for a unique and exciting cultural experience, come to Valencia in March and witness the spectacle of Las Fallas de Valencia for yourself.

The coloful design of Las Fallas in Valencia.

Las Fallas Celebrations

You may have heard of Las Fallas from seeing pictures of big colorful statues, but it’s so much more than that. As you’ll see below, there are some important moments throughout the celebration that you really should try to catch at least once.

Falleras and Falleros

If you’re planning a trip to Valencia during Las Fallas, you’ll quickly learn that the festival is all about the Falleras and Falleros. These are the people who take center stage during the celebrations, dressed in intricate and stunning traditional costumes that are specific to the region.

The Falleras are the women and girls who represent their neighborhood or town during the festival. They wear elaborate dresses that are usually made of silk and are adorned with flowers and other decorations. The Falleras also wear a unique hairstyle called the “Fallera bun,” which is an intricate updo (some call it the “Princess Leia style”) that’s adorned with various ornaments.

The Falleros, on the other hand, are the male counterparts to the Falleras. They wear traditional outfits that include a white shirt, black pants, and a red sash. They also wear a black beret and carry a traditional handkerchief that they use to wipe away the sweat from all the dancing and partying.

Both the Falleras and Falleros participate in various events during Las Fallas, including parades, processions, and the traditional offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary. They are the heart and soul of the festival, and their energy and enthusiasm are contagious.

The Falleras are the women and girls who represent their neighborhood or town during the festival. They wear elaborate dresses that are usually made of silk and are adorned with flowers and other decorations in Las Fallas Valencia.

La Crida

One of the most important events of the Fallas celebrations is La Crida, which marks the official start of the festivities. It’s always held on the last Sunday of February.

The Fallera Mayor, the highest representative of the Fallas, calls out to the city from the Serranos Towers, inviting everyone to join in on the fun. This is usually followed by a huge fireworks display – the first of many

This is a great opportunity to see the traditional dress of the Falleras and Falleros – although you’ll have plenty of other opportunities throughout the rest of the festival, as I’ll get into in more detail below.

people gathering in Torres de Serranos for La Crida
Source: Carros de Foc (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Mascletà

Get ready to experience the loudest and most explosive part of the Fallas celebrations with the Mascletà. 

This daily pyrotechnic spectacle of firecracker detonation and fireworks display takes place every day from March 1st to March 19th at 2:00 pm at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. 

Get there early if you want to be up close, as it’s a popular thing to see. That said, it’s not really about the lights but more about the noise. You’ll feel the ground shake and your heart race as the noise and smoke fill the air – and no one would blame you for wanting to come back tomorrow too!

Pyrotechnic in Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Las Fallas in Valencia.

Plantà

You can feel the excitement in the air as the real Fallas celebrations begin with the Plantà. This is on May 15th and is the day on which the fallas monuments have to be finished, or else they’ll be disqualified. 

Each commission works tirelessly to create their own unique masterpiece, with some costing millions of euros. The artwork is often satirical and political, and it’s fascinating to see the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into each one.

It’s amazing to see them being constructed in the days before the Plantà and there’s a real sense of excitement in the city as they start to go up. With over 400 different locations in the city having their own statues being built, you’ll easily be able to see the process for at least a few of them.

Nit del Foc

As night falls, the city comes alive with the Nit del Foc, or “Night of Fire.” This is when the sky is lit up with a spectacular fireworks display that is sure to leave you in awe. 

Head to the Turia Gardens (Alameda) from March 15th to March 18th to experience this incredible event.

Nit del Foc an event in Las Fallas Valencia
Source: Daniel Rubio (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Processions and Verbenas

The Fallas celebrations also include processions, torches, and verbenas (street parties). These events are a great way to experience the local culture and traditions. 

You’ll see the Falleras and Falleros dressed in their traditional costumes, sometimes carrying flowers and often accompanied by bands as they parade through the streets. The atmosphere is incredibly lively and festive, and you’ll really feel like you’re part of the community. 

The verbanas, on the other hand, are far less formal and have a real party atmosphere. The first hint of these comes in the week or so leading up to the main part of Las Fallas, when large tents start to be erected throughout the city. When you see these, you know the party is coming.

Happy woman walking down street in Spain

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L’Ofrena de flors

One of the most spectacular events during Las Fallas is L’Ofrena de flors, also known as the Flower Offering. This traditional event takes place over two full days, on the 17th to 18th March, during which Falleras and Falleros proceed in columns throughout the city, before gathering in the Plaza de la Virgen to offer flowers to the Virgin Mary.

The Flower Offering is a breathtaking display of color and beauty, with thousands of Falleras and Falleros dressed in their traditional costumes, carrying baskets of flowers, and forming a long procession towards the Virgin’s statue. The flowers are then used to create a giant mural of the Virgin Mary, which is several stories tall and takes hours to complete.

Falleras dressed in their traditional costumes in Las Fallas in Valencia.

As the procession makes its way to the Plaza de la Virgen, you can hear the sounds of traditional music and see the colorful dresses of the Falleras swaying to the beat.

If you want to experience the Flower Offering, make sure to arrive early to get a good spot. The event draws large crowds, and it can be difficult to see the details of the mural if you’re too far back.

La Cremà – the Burning of the Fallas

Easily the most highly anticipated event during Las Fallas de Valencia is the burning of the fallas. This is the culmination of the week-long celebration, and it takes place on the night of March 19th

The burning of the fallas, also known as the cremà, is a spectacular sight to behold. The fallas are constructed with intricate designs and are often several stories tall. When they are burned, they create a massive bonfire that lights up the night sky.

massive bonfire for La Cremà in Las Fallas Valencia
Source: Before Cuiviénen (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

As the flames consume the fallas, the crowds cheer and applaud. It’s a bittersweet moment, as the fallas are destroyed but in such a spectacular way that you can’t help but look on in awe.

Why are the Fallas burned at the end of the festival?

The tradition of burning the fallas dates back to the early days of the festival when carpenters would burn their parots, wooden beams with torches, on the evening of St. Joseph’s Day. Over time, the parots evolved into the Fallas sculptures we know today. 

This is why, on the last night of the festival, known as La Nit de la Cremà, all of the fallas sculptures are burned in a spectacular display of fire and light. 

It’s a symbolic act that represents the arrival of spring and the renewal of life. The burning of the fallas is also seen as a way to cleanse the city of negative energy and start anew.

(And it’s definitely why some people have referred to the festivities as Valencia’s fire festival. But while “falla” may sound similar to “fire” for some people, the two are unrelated!)

Where to stay in Valencia during Las Fallas?

Las Fallas really takes over the whole city and the atmosphere is incredible. This means that there are several areas you can stay in to be right in the thick of the action.

At the same time, think about if you really do want to be in the middle of it all. There’s no question that Las Fallas is noisy, with people partying in the street, marching bands going past and crackers going off day and night. This can be awesomely fun – but also pretty annoying at 3am when you’re trying to sleep.

It’s probably fine if it’s your first Fallas and you’re not traveling with kids or pets (as the crackers in the street really aren’t great for dogs), as you’re likely there to enjoy everything it has to offer. But if you want to guarantee that you’re going to get some sleep, really think about where you choose to stay for the festivities.

The areas to stay to be right in the middle of the action of Las Fallas are:

  • El Carmen/Ciutat Vella (Old Town)
  • Russafa
  • L’Eixample
The beautiful lights in Las Fallas in Valencia.

I do have to say that these are, in my opinion, the best areas to stay in Valencia at any time of the year (unless you want to be right next to the beach in Valencia). As such, it would be a bit of a shame to avoid them altogether due to the risk of the noise.

Instead, if you want to be really careful, I’d suggest that you write to the place you want to stay at and ask them if they have any of the following:

  • A falla (statue) right outside the hotel – this likely means more noise as people celebrate around it
  • A tent right outside the hotel – this signifies a big street party is going to happen
  • How noisy has it been during past years of Las Fallas for guests?

From there, you can make your decision accordingly. And maybe bring ear plugs, just to be safe.

Final tip: book early. Las Fallas is by far the busiest time of the year for tourism in Valencia (which unfortunately means more expensive accommodation in general) and hotel rooms book out quickly, so secure yours well in advance.

What Does the Festival of Las Fallas Symbolize?

The festival of Las Fallas symbolizes the coming of spring and the rebirth of nature. During the festival, the streets of Valencia are filled with colorful parades, fireworks, and music. The festival also celebrates the city’s patron saint, St. Joseph. 

It’s truly a time for Valencians to come together and honor their traditions.

Is Las Fallas a Religious Celebration?

Las Fallas de Valencia is a festival that has a strong connection to the Catholic religion. The festival is held annually to celebrate Saint Joseph, the patron saint of Valencia. However, the festival’s origins are rooted in Iberian pagan equinox celebrations, which were later adapted to Catholicism. 

During Las Fallas, the city of Valencia is filled with processions, fireworks, and music, all of which have religious connotations. 

The festival’s religious aspect is evident in the many processions that take place throughout the week, including the flower offering to the Virgen de los Desamparados, the patron saint of Valencia.

colorful statues for Las Fallas Valencia
Source: Antonio Marín Segovia (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Despite its religious origins, Las Fallas has evolved into a more secular celebration over the years. Today, the festival is a time for people to enjoy themselves, have fun, and celebrate life. 

The festival is open to people of all backgrounds and beliefs, and everyone is welcome to join in the festivities. Whether you are religious or not, Las Fallas is a celebration that is not to be missed.

What is the Most Important Day of Las Fallas?

Las Fallas lasts for several days, but the most important day is the last day, March 19th, which is also the feast day of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. This day is called La Cremà, which means “the burning.”

On this day, all the Fallas sculptures that have been erected throughout the city are burned in a spectacular display of flames and fireworks. The burning of the Fallas is a symbolic way of saying goodbye to the past and welcoming the future. It’s a time to let go of old grudges and start anew.

If you’re in Valencia on March 19th, you’ll see crowds of people (and firefighters, for obvious reasons) gathered around the Fallas sculptures, waiting for the moment when they will be set on fire. The atmosphere is electric, with music, dancing, and cheering. 

When the first Falla is set ablaze, the crowd erupts in cheers and applause. The burning of the Fallas continues throughout the night, with each sculpture being burned one by one.

How long does Las Fallas last?

Las Fallas is a week-long celebration that takes place every year in March, with the main events happening from March 15 to March 19. However, it starts with La Crida, on the last Sunday in February, with fireworks every day from March 1st.

The fallas themselves usually start to go up a few days before March 15th, given that they have to be done by then. That’s also the time when extra churro and drink stands start opening up around the city, being a key part of the celebration.

The festival culminates on the night of March 19, when the fallas are burned in spectacular displays of pyrotechnics. This event, known as La Cremà, is a symbolic cleansing act that celebrates the arrival of spring and the renewal of life.

colorful statues for Las Fallas in Valencia
Source: Antonio Marín Segovia (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Who celebrates Las Fallas?

Everyone celebrates Las Fallas! It;s a festival for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or social status. You’ll see people of all ages, from young children to seniors, participating in the festivities. Families, friends, and neighbors come together to celebrate this unique and exciting event.

During Las Fallas, you’ll see people dressed in traditional costumes, dancing, singing, and having fun. There are also plenty of people wearing completely normal clothing joining in with everything going on. Basically, the festival is a time for the entire city to let loose and enjoy themselves. 

Be aware though: people really do let loose. For example, during the week or so leading up to Fallas, but especially over the four main days, kids and adults alike let off crackers and even larger fireworks sometimes in the street. I mean it – day and night, you’ll hear crackers going off. Who needs sleep, right?

(They’re also supposed to stop letting off crackers at 4am each day of the last four days of Fallas but it’s not really policed, at least based on my experience.)

What do people wear during Las Fallas?

During Las Fallas, many people wear the traditional costumes of the falleras and falleros. However, the vast majority of people in the streets of Valencia just wear normal clothing, so there’s no need to buy the traditional outfit to join in.

For the men participating as falleros, they wear short black jackets, matching trousers, white shirts, and colorful sashes around their waists that indicate their hierarchy within their association. Alternatively, they may wear a colorful outfit that matches the women’s fabrics and comes with a hat. 

On the other hand, the women, known as falleras, wear hand-stitched dresses with tight, intricate hairstyles. These dresses are often adorned with intricate embroidery and lace, and are usually paired with matching shawls, fans, and flowers. 

All that said, it’s not necessary to wear traditional clothing, with most instead opting for comfortable clothing and shoes that are appropriate for the March weather in Valencia. In particular, you’ll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure your shoes are sturdy and supportive. 

Do you need tickets for Las Fallas?

No, you don’t need tickets to attend Las Fallas in Valencia. The festival is open to everyone, with much of it taking place in the streets of the city. Some events within Las Fallas, like the private tent parties in the street, do, however, need tickets to attend. 

You’ll also find the occasional other event that needs tickets, like watching the mascleta from City Hall, which is done via a lottery. For the vast majority of the festival though, you won’t need any tickets to join in on the fun.

big statue for Las Fallas in Valencia
Source: Manel (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Why Las Fallas is Important

Las Fallas is important for many reasons. For one, it’s a celebration of Valencia’s history and culture. The festival dates back to the Middle Ages and has evolved over time to become the vibrant and colorful event it is today. It’s a chance for Valencians to showcase their traditions and customs to the world.

Another reason why Las Fallas is important is that it brings people together. During the festival, the streets are filled with music, dancing, and laughter. It’s a time when neighbors and friends come together to enjoy the festivities and create lasting memories. 

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Las Fallas is an opportunity to connect with others and experience the warmth and hospitality of the Valencian people.

What are some fun facts about Fallas Festival?

You’re in for a treat if you’re planning to visit Valencia during the Fallas Festival. Here are some fun facts to get you ready for the action:

  • The Fallas Festival is a celebration of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. It is believed that the festival originated in the Middle Ages when carpenters used to burn wood scraps to celebrate the arrival of spring.
  • The festival is famous for its intricate and massive sculptures called “fallas.” These sculptures are made of wood, papier-mâché, and polystyrene and can reach up to 20 meters in height.
  • The fallas are not just sculptures, but they also have a satirical message. Each falla represents a social or political issue, and they are often humorous and critical.
Las Fallas in Valencia
Source: Antonio Marín Segovia (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  • During the festival, you’ll see people dressed in traditional costumes called “falleros” and “falleras.” They wear colorful outfits that are embroidered with gold and silver threads.
  • Another exciting part of the Fallas Festival is the fireworks. You’ll see a lot of fireworks during the festival, especially during the “mascletà” shows, which are held every day at 2 pm in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. These shows are a combination of fireworks and loud explosions that will leave you in awe.
  • Finally, the Fallas Festival is not just about the sculptures and fireworks. You’ll also get to enjoy traditional food and drinks. You must try the “buñuelos,” which are fried pumpkin dough balls covered in sugar.

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