Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spain series (2)--- Fallas and flower offering and senorita from Royal Albert

It's that time of the year. The time of saying farewell to Spring and welcoming Summer. It's time of celebration and time for me to feel the vibe of the festival even though I am not physically there in Spain. Yes, it's the time of Fallas.

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.


  1. Oh beautiful post! And so very interesting too! Thank you! I am loving this tea cup. So dramatic in black, white and red. A very romantic cup with that gorgeous lace design. It does look like it was influenced by Spanish culture.

  2. Hi: That Royal Albert is one of my all time favorite cups. It is so beautiful. I have to get me one of those. Love your post today. Have a wonderful week. Blessings, Martha

  3. Much preparation for the traditional celebration and parade. The costume the ladies wear are beautiful.
    Your black lace teacup is pretty and how appropriate for this post.

  4. I have never read or heard of this tradition and celebration. This was very interesting. The statues / figurines are amazing...so much beautiful art and crafting , and then burnt up.

    I can see the similarity of the girl's veil to the beautiful lace design on the teacup. Thank-you for this interesting post, I love when I learn something new during my tea-time Tuesday travels. They really do take me all over the world!

  5. Felicity these photos are fabulous, and all that history is great to learn, the costumes are gorgeous,when they finished the dress with the face on it is beautiful, that city center look awesome with all those lights. Thanks for sharing your journey. Now the teacup is the most beautiful cup I've ever seen and the lovely bracelet and love the hair comb.I love to see other places even if its in my front room:):).. My DS lives in England and visits Spain at that time, she hasn't got pictures like these thanks agin for sharing..

  6. So beautiful! The bracelet must be a very special souvenir of your time there. And that teacup is perfect!