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One of the more interesting aspects of Las Fallas is from a sociological perspective, in that the behaviors of so many Valencianos changes overnight. Think about the fairgrounds when the state fair comes to town, then expand that to a neighborhood. Lots of people, lots of sounds and sights, and lots of noise. Now expand that to the entire city, until you can tell that the festival is messing up traffic patterns, infusing the air with gunpowder smoke, and giving normally quiet people a license to make as much noise as possible.

In the pictures below, you can get a glimpse of one of the kickoff events for Las Fallas this year: the mascletá (or mascletà in Valenciano). For this event, thousands of people poured into the city center to see and hear the spectacle that is repeated every day in March until March 19, the day celebrating Saint Joseph. In the streets and parks, neighborhoods and communities are filled with kids (and adults) setting off all sorts of fireworks. Daytime, nighttime, teatime, or dinnertime, you can usually hear fireworks going off wherever you are in the city.

Gentle readers, I have also included a video of the masletà, but let’s be honest: watching daytime fireworks on video is not particularly riveting. I filmed it to give a glimpse of the feel of the event, but scan to the beginning and to the end if you want to hit the high points.

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On my walk home, I came across the remains of another party in a street filled with confetti… this sort of thing is pretty common this month. The party rarely stops!

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