Gentle readers, after a brief break from internet services, I am back to bring you some of the sights and sounds of the incredible experience of Las Fallas. I was here two years ago, but this time, I saw more of the city’s festival experience than the previous visit. About a week before the festival is over, assembly on the incredible sculptures throughout the city begins. Each falla sculpture is commissioned and built by different Fallas guilds throughout the city, who raise funds, help with the construction, and, ultimately, assist with the destruction of the sculpture. The guilds are somewhat like a combination of social club, neighborhood meeting point, and cultural preservation society, and have fundraisers throughout the year to produce these amazing artifacts.
In many areas throughout the city, fallas are placed in neighborhood squares, sometimes sealing off traffic altogether, while traffic patterns change throughout the city as smaller roads become inaccessible. Fallas are constructed in pieces, then reassembled, touched up, and illuminated again in the neighborhood. There are so many fallas that it seems impossible to view them all, but the increase of tourism during the festival and additional people packing public squares and roadways often limit the ability to see many of the fallas up close.
Often satirical or whimsical in nature, the fallas are a small scene depicting an idea or theme, and the quality of the falla artwork varies significantly from one to another. Whether poking fun at other cultures, making political statements, or demonstrating an adventurous artistic spirit, these amazing sculptures characterize the city of Valencia in an odd way.