During Fallas, the most important celebration of Valencia, the city becomes an explosion of joy (almost literally) that lasts for five days; from the 15th of March to de 19th, which is Saint Joseph’s day, the Saint for whom the celebration is in praise of.
About the Fallas
The beginning of this tradition sets back to the Middle Age, when artisans and carpenters used to burn their broken artifacts and pieces of wood that were no longer needed, in order to celebrate the spring equinox. Later, it was settled in the 19th of March so it would coincide with the celebration of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of the carpenters. With time, these pieces of wood were given shape and added clothes to make them resemble popular neighbors and people of that time.
The Fallas have evolved since then, at first they began to use cardboard and wax to build not very big sculptures, but nowadays they have become huge monuments made of polystyrene and soft cork –which allows the artists to raise them up to 30 meters– that are to be burnt every 19th of march, the last day of the celebration.
What to do in Fallas
Anyway, what matters is that during that week, Valencia is a nonstop party, with a never ending list of events to attend, from very early in the morning with the “despertà” (the wake-up call, brass bands marching every street followed by people throwing large firecrackers) to very late in the night, with huge firework displays every night and music in almost every corner of the city.
Along the day you can visit the biggest monuments (called Fallas too) among the more than 500 that are built in the streets al over Valencia, listen to “the Mascletà”, a unique explosive display combining firecracker and firework barrages, or even watch the “ofrena”, a magnificent floral show where every participant of the celebration takes an offering of flowers to the virgin, which are used to cover an extremely big representation of the virgin.
As you see, there are many things to do, but luckily everything is perfectly scheduled and you can organize your agenda in order to see what you think you’ll like most. Monuments are open all day and night (they are placed on the streets), the “mascletà” takes place every day at 2pm at the city hall square from the 1st of March. There is one big firework display every night from the 15th of March to the 18th (called “La nit del Foc”) and the floral offering begins the 17th and is held almost nonstop until late on the 18th.
And finally, the last night (the 19th) at midnight, you must choose what monument would you like to see burn (that’s the meaning of Fallas after all). Though the winner monument will be burnt a bit later than the others, you must choose with wisdom, as you will probably only be able to watch one of them being swallowed by the fire.
Nevertheless, there are many other things to visit in Valencia during Fallas. You can learn about them and know when they take place at Fallas form Valencia.
Organizing an event in Fallas time
What the visitant should take in account for –specially those assisting or organizing fairs and any other kind of events– is that the city streets will be taken day and night by monuments and hundred of thousands of people that seem to never sleep. This particular way of celebrating has its good things, but also some inconveniences.
On one hand, holding an event during Fallas will make it much more attractive to potential assistants, as they will be able to enjoy one of the biggest and most unique festivals of Spain. It’s also a great time to hold company events, incentive travels, motivational events or just team up. Valencia has a lot to offer all year round, but during Fallas you will experience something that you probably have never lived: a whole city in a celebration that lasts 5 days and takes place in almost every street and neighborhood, where your senses won’t believe what they see, hear, smell, touch and taste.
Each time a meeting ends, you will have something interesting to do, no matter what time it is. Be it noon, afternoon, evening or night, there is always something happening. Your biggest problem will be deciding what to choose.
On the other hand, there are some organizing difficulties. First of all, as Fallas is a very popular festival, it attracts many visitors and tourists. So, finding accommodation for those days is not easy, though not impossible, as Valencia has great hotel resources, but it’s something to have in mind.
You should also have in mind that many streets are closed in order to hold the monuments and many other activities, so traffic moves a bit less smoothly than usually. Anyway, public transportation –specially the subway and the tram– offers an easy commute from almost anywhere to every great event holding place and main attraction.
So, if you want to organize an unforgettable event, Fallas is the time to choose, as it gives the visitor the chance to live a unique festival, enriching the experience of whatever the aim of the event is, and is very advisable for incentive travels, team up and motivational events.