We’re embracing the festival of Fallas and we’ve made some new friends who offered to show us what Fallas is all about. We met in the Plaza de Ayuntament, where the mascleta is blown off every day at 2pm and at midnight on weekends. The large fallas in the plaza is the falla for everyone who visits the city. It’s so they can feel a part of the celebration, even though they don’t have a fallas of their own from their home neighborhood.
There are over 700 fallas (monuments or effigies) erected at intersections around the city. Each area has a group of Fallero or Fallera who plan, coordinate, raise money for and build the fallas for their area. It’s some people’s full time job. And in the photos below you can see why.
They are truly works of art and the tradition goes back a thousand years. It’s evolved over time and morphed during Franco’s time. He loved Fallas and had a balcony built just so he could overlook the mascleta and enjoy the parade from the town hall.
Each Fallas group selects a Fallara who will represent their fallas. Each fallas must have one of these girls to represent them in parades, etc. Each girl selected must have 4 dresses and all the combs, etc. which are very expensive. A dress is about 7-10 thousand euros – EACH! So you can not be poor and be a Fallera. Some families take out loans to pay for it – it’s an honor.
The fallas are both whimsical and play to local politics, the politics of Spain (think Catalonya) and international politics. In our pictures you will see ALOT of mocking of Donald Trump. I took some photos of those. My favorite is the one titled ‘Air Force Juan’ because I love puns. One Especial Fallas was titled ‘Egos’ and outlined all the events of the year where BIG Egos were front and center. You’ll see a photo I called ‘The Three Amigos’ from that Fallas.
Each of these fallas below, will be burned on the 19th between 10pm and 1am. It’s symbolizes the coming of Spring. Burning the old and welcoming the new. A very Buddhist concept in a very Catholic country.
After our 6 mile walk today, we sat down with our new friends and had breakfast and learned all about the area. Tomorrow, we’ll go to the lighting on Cuba street and I’ll post photos of those. It looks like it will be spectacular!