Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Las Fallas 2014: La Cremà


Trying to describe Las Fallas to someone who has never witnessed it in person is almost impossible to do. When told that the structures are set on fire during the last night of the festival people always think they have misunderstood, or that the Valencians are crazy. Either way, La Cremà (the burning) is la crème de la crème (I’m so punny) of Las Fallas. As another blogger put it, La Cremà is “what money looks like when you burn it”. Very true. These statues which cost thousands of euros and months of work are only out in public for a few days before they meet their fiery demise. Crazy? Yes. Awesome? Definitely.

fire

The burnings start at 10:00pm with the Fallas Infantiles. The winning falla infantil is burned at 10:30. These smaller ones don’t need the supervision of the fire department, so lots of children are around for these.

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One of the Falla Infantils in my neighborhod
Each Falla (big and small) is doused with gasoline and loaded up with strings of firecrackers and fireworks. Before the big moment, there is usually a small firework display before the fallera mayor lights the fuse.

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The winning Falla Infantil for 2014, also in my neighborhood
These statues burn very quickly with lots of smoke. People are able to stand pretty close, but usually end up quickly backing up once the flames really get going.

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What's left of the winning Infantil
For the big fallas, the fire department must be present before they can begin. Instead of keeping the falla under control, they douse everything around it. Buildings, windows, trees, and lights are all saved from burning or melting. Once the falla collapses and is small enough to not cause any problems, they leave it burning and move on to the next structure.

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There are over 700 fallas in Valencia so if you ever have a chance too see the city from above you will definitely have an amazing view.

fallas from above