Las Fallas: Valencia’s fire festival granted Unesco heritage status

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Las Fallas: Valencia’s fire festival granted Unesco heritage status
One of the ninots representing Mariano Rajoy in 2015. Photo: Jose Jordan / AFP

Valencia’s colourful, noisy and explosive annual celebration of Las Fallas has been inscribed on Unesco’s ‘intangible heritage’ list.


The festival was granted its new status at a Unesco meeting in Addis Ababa this week alongside 15 other cultural traditions from around the world, including an ancient martial art from Egypt, breadmaking in Iran and a wine-growers festival in Switzerland.

Las Fallas is celebrated each March in Spain’s eastern city of Valencia with a week-long fiesta honoring Saint Joseph, the patron saint of the carpenter's guild.

GALLERY: Valencia's spectacular festival of fire

The festival, which dates back to the 18th century,  is marked with the construction of hundreds of giant wooden, cardboard, or papier-mâché sculptures, known as ninots.

These figurines are often satirical in nature and send up the politicians of the day.

Each afternoon during the fiesta, at 2pm, an ear-shattering display of colourful firecrackers are set off followed by parades and traditional dancing in the street

On the final day, huge bonfires are built and the ninots are burned while thecity sky is filled with fireworks.

The 2016 fiesta was one of the biggest on record with an estimated 1.5million attending celebrations in Spain’s third largest city.

Spain already boasts several other activities included on Unesco's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, including flamenco and the human towers of Catalonia.


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