Article by Jan Kanty
Burning or “Crema” of Las Fallas of Valencia takes place on the 19th March. First they burn children’s fallas (about 10 p.m.) and then fireworks announce the burning of large fallas. Fallas are burnt by a constructor after or during the fireworks. Sculptures burn up very quickly, spreading considerable heat around. Particularly high temperatures force people to go meters away from the sculptures. During the burning, security measures are rigorous. Fences are set up around the sculptures and if the streets are narrow and the heat can reach the buildings, firefighters wash facades, windows, traffic signs and other sensitive facilities and in that way prevent melting. The process of burning takes about an hour and while extinguishing, fire brigades from almost the whole of Spain are engaged.
Valencia during the festival
During the festive week, Valencia lives all day and night. Restaurants and bars are open again after winter; therefore the streets are literally flooded with people. The last three days of holidays are non working and then the fun culminates in a great outdoor party. The city nucleus is transformed into a vast stage for street performers of various profiles, a wide boulevard into the promenade. People of all ages, the old city streets with many amenities and a distinctive Mediterranean atmosphere offer refreshments for the soul and body.
The usual seasonal day begins at eight o’clock in the morning, called the rising “La desperta”. From then until the end of the day, you can hear the brass players, who march through the streets and play lively music. They are followed by “fallaros” who are dressed in traditional costumes. They also practice traditional throwing of firecrackers. Firecrackers are used every time and everywhere, and they are enjoyed by virtually everyone, from babies to the elderly.
Firecrackers have the main event – Maskleta, which begins each day promptly at 2 p.m. It is, in fact, a large firecrackers event that at a given moment takes place in almost every corner of the city. Moreover, it is characterized by coordinated activity of several firecrackers in successive waves of explosions. The largest, most spectacular and most visited is the one held at the central square, Placa de Ahuntament, where Valencia’s masters make a spectacle of pyrotechnics, burning hundreds of kilograms of various types of pyrotechnic materials in a specially fenced part of the square. Firecracking starts from the balcony of the Town Hall and the whole show lasts about ten minutes. Each wave of the explosion is greater and stronger than its predecessor. Fire cracking is not the only explosive event during the holidays. In fact, everyday, around midnight, a fireworks show begins.
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