If you have been to Valencia, Spain. You would have heard of the Fallas festival for it's one of the most celebrated festivals in Valancia, Spain.
It's said that Fallas was originally just a common practise by carpenters. During winter time, carpenters made the candle holder in the shape of a doll. As winter passed, they no longer needed it so they burnt it. To pay respect to the saint of carpenters, San Jose. They have this tradition of making wooden figurines and burn them. Nowadays, the artists need one year to complete the figurines as they are very large, some are as high as a 3 or 4 storey building. On 19 March at midnight, all figurines are burnt.
Starting from 12 March leading up to 19 March, a fire crackers show is displayed at the plaza in front of the city hall at 2:00PM every afternoon. The show aims at using different fire crackers to make the different tones and sounds and by placing the fire crackers at different distance, it creates a beat. So it's like the fire cracker musical show. Hearing the beats and feeling the explosion of the fire crackers, it seems that every bit of your low emotion/bad luck was taken away. I remembered making a wish while watching the show, I really felt lifted and light hearted and all the bad energy was taken away and so my life begins again.
On 17, 18 March, those who have donated money to the church are allowed to participate at the flower offering parade. The statue of Saint Mary is placed outside the plaza of virgin mary. Trained men climb up the statue and put the flowers on the statue and make the 'dress' for Saint Mary.
They took 2 days to complete the 'dress'. Every year, the pattern of the dress is different. The year I was there, the back of the dress shows the face of a girl.
Look at the black veils the girls wearing, I suspect that Royal Albert china maker got their inspiration from the Fallas parade
We call those flower offering girls and boys Falleros. People of all ages can participate in this parade as long as you have donate money and are catholics. From infants to adults, we can see people of all ages.
Look at this grandfather, he is holding flowers and waiting for his family members walk pass.
Two men in traditional custumes leading a group of children.
The dress of Virgin Mary takes 2 days to complete. On 19 March, the Saint Jose day, she is on full display.
In one of the areas near city centre, there is the street light display. The whole street is decorated in light and it's like the light building. At the two sides of the street, you can find a lot of booths selling traditional snacks and drinks.
Almost every corner of the city has a figurines. The picture shown above is the figurine on the street from where I lived. Actually there are many statues/figurines, this one is my favourite.
At midnight on 19March, all the statues are burnt. Before lighting the fire, the fire fighters must arrive and if it's necessary, they will wrap up some buildings to prevent the fire from damaging the wall of the buildings.When everything is ready, first, there is a firework show at the area where the statue will be burnt, and then the most voted 'Falleros'-- the selected girl in custume will light the fire crackers that lead to the figurines, and then seconds later, the whole figurine is on fire.
Actually all people can stand close at a safe distance, you can really feel that it's a purifying method to wake up your soul as if all the bad/evil things are taken out/burnt down by the fire. The whole city is lifted and cleansed.
The main structure of the figurine is shown.
The 'La crema' ---cremation is completed and everyone leaves with a light soul and a pure spirit.
After being purified, it's really time for a cup of tea.
The bracelet above is often worn by 'Falleros' during the parade. Walking pass a shop that offers hand-made bracelet for Fallas one day, I could not help but buy one for myself. I admired the neatness of the pearls. Not to mention that I enjoyed a chat with the sales lady there who hand-tied the bracelet.
The lovely white hair comb was given by my friend.
Writing this blog, I feel like I am back to Valencia again witnessing the Fallas and all the events that are surrounding the festival. And that there is always a Spanish heart in me!
Happy San Jose Day!
(All photos about Fallas were taken by me in 2011)
I am joining Terri and Martha for tea.