Gentle readers, if you have been following along on this Fallas journey, then this is the culmination of an amazing festival that is renowned throughout Spain and Europe… often because of this night. The earliest days of the Fallas festival began when the carpenters of the city, celebrating their patron saint, Saint Joseph, began a competition to see what could be created from the discarded wood from their work. The Feast Day of Saint Joseph in the church calendar is March 19, and on that day, all of the fallas are burned. Saint Joseph, along with Mary and Saint Vincente Ferrer, is the patron of Valencia, and is also evidenced by the sheer number of people with the name José here in the city.
The pictures for you today are of the final celebration, which includes the burning of all of the fallas, accompanied by a fireworks show to start the blaze. Wet sheets are hung on the sides of buildings, and bomberos, or firemen, are at hand to prevent any mishaps. Burning the fallas makes way for the new creativity that will emerge throughout the upcoming year, funded by the fallas guilds through bake sales, raffle sales, and other fundraisers.
Earlier in the day, a smaller fireworks show in a neighborhood showed a more local side to the event. After one last walk around some of the impressive fallas, it was time to see one burn during la cremà, which is truly a spectacle.
I have never been this close to fireworks before. Ever. Both beautiful and terrifying, the burning of the fallas lights up the city on the night 19 March and is punctuated by the flashes and bangs of fireworks throughout the night.