Las Fallas, (Intangible?) Cultural Heritage of Humanity

 

Las Fallas is a unique celebration. For people who move to Valencia and know so little about Las Fallas, it is a festival that you discover gradually. 

When you arrive in the city and start to walk around it, it’s surprising that Valencia is full of shops with displays of amazingly exquisite silk, damask, lampazo, taffeta; you will also find many upholsterers. So many textile shops and upholsterers are not at all common in other European capitals. There are also many shops dedicated to the specific jewelry of the Falleras: ornaments, combs, necklaces, brooches, and large gold and silver earrings of extraordinary beauty.

Further on, you discover, in the street where you live, a “casal fallero” where people meet to celebrate dinners from time to time. Little by little they explain some things to you. A man tells you that he no longer lives in the neighborhood, but that he still lives in that casal fallero, in that specific crossroads, because that’s where he belongs, a crossroads where the Falla usually receive prizes!

One day you start to see them all around you. As Elena Soler says, the Fallas grow in every neighborhood of the city; huge monuments of wood, cardboard, and white cork, great works of craftsmanship that the Artistas Falleros have been building throughout the year to be burnt in the spectacular Nit del Foc, on the night of San José.

The Fallas, of all styles and colors, are the best-known tradition in the world, along with the smell of gunpowder, the daily Mascletás in the City Hall Square, and the festive atmosphere that spreads throughout Valencia.

A festivity that is poetry, contagious smiles, and even goosebumps at times. While you are concentrating on your work, you hear the music of a Paso Doble in the distance. You leave your work and get up from your desk to run to the doorway, while the Paso Doble sounds closer and closer. Everything comes to a standstill as the Falleras pass by, groups of families, women, men, children, and babies dressed in those beautiful costumes, and no two costumes are the same…, accompanied by the music band – Valencia is the community with the highest number of music bands in Europe -. As if the queen, the nobleman, the count, or the carriage of the night of kings were passing by, we step aside to enjoy such immense beauty with our eyes and ears. The Falleras know they are pretty, during those days they are the influencers, the Hollywood actresses… and so they let themselves be photographed, take selfies with the passers-by, and be admired. 

Keep on playing, heavenly band, your music is one of the most beautiful that can walk the streets.

 

 

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