The Falles is a four-day traditional celebration held in Valencia to commemorate Saint Joseph, the patron saint of the carpenters' guild, involving a multitude of processions, representing the religious, historical and comedic. The term 'falles'– a traditional phrase that can be traced back to the 18th century – refers to the gigantic structures made of cardboard by groups of artists and artisans, painters, sculptors and other craftsmen, who spend months producing elaborate constructions of paper and wax, wood and polystyrene foam, with some towering up to five storeys high.
On the final evening of Falles, which falls on 19 March, each group takes its ninot (Catalan for puppet or doll, which often portray current events, personalities and political figures) on a grand parade before they strap fireworks around it and it set on fire.
The parade, known in Catalan as the Cavalcada del Foc (the Fire Parade), takes place along the Colon and Plaça de la Porta de la Mar square. The spectacular celebration consists of fire, the symbol of the fiesta's spirit, in the grande finale of Falles – a noisy and colourful event featuring exhibitions, floats, giant mechanisms, people in costumes, rockets, gunpowder, street performances and music.
This article was first published on March 21, 2016