Las Fallas 2023: Traditional Festival celebration in Valencia
Las Fallas is a spectacular fire festival that you won’t want to miss if you happen to visit Spain, and Valencia specifically, in March. The celebrations take place almost for the whole month. Usually. This fire festival starts on March 1 and continues up until March 19 and combines tradition, satire and art. It has become an amazing touristic attraction, while UNESCO declared it Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016. Want to learn more about this fascinating event? Read on and dive into the atmosphere of the festivities of Valencian Las Fallas already while reading.
The Origins of Las Fallas
The festival Las Fallas is held yearly in Valencia for almost three weeks in March to celebrate spring. During this festive time, visitors can watch giant puppets, called Fallas, that are made mostly of paper-mache all over the city. Together with gigantic fallas, there are also smaller sculptures, called ninots, which are displayed everywhere around.
All these sculptures, gigantic fallas and small ninots, are burned on the last day of the festival. This huge event is celebrated with a spectacular bonfire, called La Crema, that attracts visitors from all corners of the world. Thus, if you are planning to visit Spain any time in March, consider visiting Valencia for this event.
History of the Las Fallas
While many believe that Las Fallas originated in ancient times, the history of celebrating this holiday dates back to over 500 years ago. However, the most popular version telling about the origins of the Las Fallas festivities is associated with the tradition of carpenters who used to burn the props they used to light their workshops during winter.
Later, carpenters jokingly started to add arms and legs of rags and old belongings to the candle sticks, making them look like people. That was the way ninots, human-looking dolls that we know today, appeared. With time these dolls became bigger and began to represent satire of the hottest political and social topics.
The Fallas Festival has developed into a massive display of brilliant and intricate pieces of art, some of which can cost millions of euros. It is an amazing reflection of the culture and history in the area.
19 Days of Festivities for Any Taste
Fallas lovers anticipate the celebration with great enthusiasm and there is no shortage of activities during Fallas week. Music, gunpowder, religious festivities and more can be experienced by all 5 senses. With so much to experience, you can create unforgettable memories!
Mascletà, from 1st to 19th
The enthusiasm for spectating fireworks can be compared only to witnessing breathtaking gunpowder shows, and there is the event of Mascleta that combines them both. It is a fireworks show accompanied by a gunpowder symphony that takes place during special occasions and festivals.
The word 'mascletà' comes from 'masclet', a type of fireworks that explode and make loud noises when the Fallera Mayor allows to start the event, saying “Mr. Pyrotechnic, you may start the mascletà now” (which sounds in Spanish as “Senyor pirótecnic pot començar la mascletà").
From March 1st to 19th, thrill seekers can witness a mesmerizing sound show at Plaza del Ayuntamiento at 2 pm daily. Make sure to keep your mouth slightly open in order to protect your ears from the huge volume of 120 decibels!
Reserve the Most Important Dates in the Las Fallas Program 2023
Fireworks and the Nit del Foc, from 15th to 19th March
During las Fallas, the nighttime sky in Alameda is filled with bright colors due to the awe-inspiring firework displays which occur at midnight. The 'Nit del Foc' festival is an annual event and it is the culmination of las Fallas that brings a large number of people together to enjoy a spectacular firework display that starts in the early hours of March 18th.
March 15th is Time for the Planta
The evening of 15th March is busy with the activities and events to visit. The Fallas commissions work without breaks so that to ensure that all figures are set finished and set up by the 16th of March. On this day, the judges decide which fallas and ninots are the best and choose the 'ninot induldat', the only ninot that gets saved from being burned.
Wednesday, 15th of March
The traditional Valencia Fallas celebration takes place on March 8, 2023 with "plantà" of the children's fallas at 8am. At 2pm, the town hall square will feature a spectacular "mascletà" display and by 5pm, the Ninot Exhibition will conclude. Finally, at 5:30pm, the popular verdict will be announced and the "Ninot Indultat" of 2023 declared.
At 5:45 pm, the commissions will be collecting the ninots and this will continue until 8:00 pm. At midnight, L'Albà de les Falles will be celebrated across the city with a fireworks display taking place at the Town Hall Square.
Thursday, 16th of March
8 am – start of the "Plantà" of all the fallas
02:00 pm - Plaza del Ayuntamiento will be hosting the traditional Mascletà event where audience can enjoy the sound of firecrackers and other explosives.
4:30 pm – start of the Children's Awards Ceremony for children’s fallas in various categories and procession of the Ninots parade in the Town Hall.
12 am - Paseo de la Alameda will host incredible fireworks show. Don't miss out on the chance to witness a spectacular sight!
Friday, 17th of March
Award-giving Ceremony on the 17th of March
On the morning of 17th, falleras mayores and their commissions start the pompous procession to Plaza del Ayuntamiento where they receive their awards. Usually, over 750 giant figures are presented in the fallas competition, and they are divided into distinct categories. The Special Section of these fallas and ninots figures is considered to be the most remarkable.
9:30 am – start of the award-giving ceremony at the Town Hall for Fallas, streets illuminations, presentations, and llibrets de falla.
2 pm – a "Mascletà" event will be held in the Town Hall Square.
03:30 pm - offering of flowers to the Mare de Déu.
01:00 am – beginning of a fireworks display in the Paseo de la Alameda near the Palau de les Arts.
Saturday, 18th of March
Flower Ofrenda 18th March
Every year, the Fallas commissions from Valencia march through the streets of their neighborhood to Plaza de la Virgen where they make a flower offering to Virgen de los Desamparados, the saint patron of Valencia. The procession takes place in the early evening and culminates in the creation of a 15-metre high structure made up of flowers, representing the cape of Virgin Mary statue.
10:30 am – giving tribute to the poet Maximiliano Thous at the monument built in his honor at the junction of Sagunto and Maximiliano Thous streets.
12:00 pm - A special ceremony to commemorate the legendary Maestro Serrano will be held at his monument on the Avenue of the Kingdom of Valencia.
02:00 pm -"Mascletà" is a traditional Valencia event that will take place in the Town Hall Square of the city.
03:30 pm – offering of flowers to the Mare de Déu.
01:30 am – start of the “Nit del Foc” spectacular firework display in Paseo de la Alameda, near the Palau de les Arts.
Sunday, 19th of March
The Cremà on the 19th of March
It is a tradition to burn all Fallas, no matter whether big or small, on the 19th of March each year. Although it's sad to watch these giant figures burn in the flames, it is still an amazing and beautiful sight to behold. Get prepared and wear comfortable shoes and clothes before joining the cremà performance and action that begin at 8pm with the burning of small ninots and then continued with the burning of big fallas at 10:00pm, except for the 1st prize-winner which is burned at 10.30 pm. Las Fallas celebrations come to an end at 11pm with setting ablaze the figure at Plaza del Ayuntamiento. If you've never been to this spectacular festival, we highly recommend you attend it because there's so much to experience!
11:00 am - Every year, Valencia's Falleres Mayores and their Courts of Honour pay tribute to the Patron Saint with a flower offering in front of the image of the Patriarch on the Bridge of Saint Joseph.
12:00 pm - The Archbishop of Valencia, Antonio Cañizares, conducts the solemn Mass in honor of Saint Joseph at Valencia’s Cathedral. The event is usually attended by the Junta Central Fallera and Carpenters' Guild, as well as the Falleras Mayores of Valencia and their respective Cortes de Honor.
02:00 pm - Mascletà is a popular part of the festivities in the Town Hall Square of Valencia, Spain.
06:00 pm – fire parade along Calle Colón, from Calle Ruzafa to Plaza de la Porta la Mar.
08:00 pm - The Cremà is the closing ceremony of the children's Fallas festivities in Valencia. It involves burning figurines and other structures created by children, except for the winning one.
08:30 pm - Cremà or burning of the winning falla created by children that wins the first prize in the Special Category.
09:00 pm – Cremà of children’s falla in the Town Hall Square
10:00 pm – start of the Cremà (bonfire) of all Fallas in Valencia, except for the winning Fallas.
10:30 pm - The Cremà of the winning Fallas in the Special Category.
11:00 pm – Concluding Cremà of the fallas in the Town Hall Square in Valencia.
Enjoy the festival!