Category Archives: Les Falles/Las Fallas

Falles/Fallas: Lasting Impressions

A few of the many Falles/Fallas impressions that remain with me long after the festival ends:

Beso,Na Jordana 2016

… Ninot, Na Jordana 2016

City Hall 2016

… City Hall Plaza Falla, 2016 …

The Falla de la Plaça de l’Ajuntament (City Hall Plaza). It is always one of the most spectacular.

Mama Falleras

Falleras

… Falleras in their traditional Valencian silk dresses …

The manufacture of silk is an important part of Valencia’s history and the silk industry has survived thanks to use in traditional Valencian costumes, as well as for decoration. The most valued type of Valencian silk, “Espolin”, is still hand-made on XVIII century looms. Its name comes from the instrument used to weave the silk.

Delight 2016

…hundreds of ninots! (ninot, Convento Jerusalén, 2016) …

Street Paella

Paella being cooked on a wood fire in the middle of the street

Fallera Cookies

… and all the other festival treats! …

Lights 2-Ruzafa

… the illumination of the Ruzafa neighborhood …

Firecrackers

… gunpowder, ready to be lit! …

The smell of gunpowder. Daytime fireworks, nighttime fireworks, firecrackers, and more firecrackers — weeks of pyrotechnic celebration!

Tienda de Valencia

the post-Fallas sales at the traditional dress shops

All photos © La Gringa Ibérica

Les falles de València: All about “Ninots”

Working on a Classic

Large “ninot”

Les falles (Valencian) “the fires” — also known as Las Fallas (Spanish) started in the 16th century as a celebration of the Catholic feast day for St. Joseph (Sant Josep), the patron saint of carpenters, and evolved into the 2-week, multifaceted celebration it is today. The focus of the fiesta is the creation and destruction of ninots (“dolls”), statues made of cardboard, wood, wax, paper-machè, plaster, and polystyrene foam. This whole assembly is a falla.

Menopausa

A satiric ninot (Menopause!)

In your Face

A political ninot (detail)

The ninots — which range in size from small to several stories high — usually depict bawdy, satirical scenes and current events — plus whimsical ninots created by and for children.

Regal lgi

A ninot for children

I count two Little Falleras

A small ninot for children featuring traditional costume

The labor intensive ninots, are crafted by both neighborhood organizations (casals) and professional local craftsmen, take a entire year to construct. The festival has, in fact, created a local industry with an entire suburban area —Ciutat fallera (Fallas City) — devoted to the creation of ninots.

Huntress

A large ninot in Plaza Pilar, 2014

Summer and Winter

Ninots, Ruzafa neighborhood, 2013

More than 350 ninots occupy a large percentage of the city’s intersections, plazas and alleys, and Valencia turns into a (very temporary) open air gallery. I always enjoy exploring the neighborhoods during Fallas — usually the crowds are smaller than city center and the creativity is amazing.

Open Heart

The Falla of Casal Na Jordana, 2015

The ninots remain in place until March 19th, the day known as La Cremá (“the burning”). Crowds gather, the streetlights are turned off, and all of the ninots are set on fire beginning at exactly 12 a.m. (midnight). Each year, one of the ninots is spared from destruction by popular vote. This ninot is called the ninot indultat (“the pardoned doll”) and is exhibited in the Fallas Museum along with the other ninots spared in years past (Fallas Museum, Plaza Monteolivete, 4, Valencia).

Neighborhood falla burning

The burning of the “ninots” in my neighborhood, 2014. You can feel the heat!

Neighborhood falla burning 2

Close-up!

A linguistic note: Les falles de València is celebrated in Valencià (Valencian), the official language of the community of Valencia —  thus ninot, casal, etc. are all Valencian words.

 

All photos © La Gringa Ibérica