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LAS FALLAS

IN PICS: Red hot satire at Las Fallas fiesta in Valencia

A naked Donald Trump stands alongside figures of Hitler, Stalin and Francisco Franco: This can only be the satirical world of Valencia's Las Fallas festival.

IN PICS: Red hot satire at Las Fallas fiesta in Valencia
Four ninots depicting (L to R) dictators Francisco Franco, Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler, and US president Donald Trump, all naked. All photos: AFP

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.

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 March 19th, the final day of the fiesta, huge bonfires are built and the ninots are burned while the city sky is filled with fireworks.

The fiesta attracts an estimated 1.5 million people to celebrate in Spain's third largest city.

In 2016, UNESCO recognised Las Fallas for its “intangible cultural heritage” status.

Some of the world’s most important political figures make an appearance at the Fallas festival, but at the end of the four day festivities, the satirical effigies of Spanish politicians, members of the Royal family and late dictator Francisco Franco, as well as Donald Trump,  to name a few, are all set on fire.

Didn’t make it out to Valencia this year? Take a look at the highlights of the celebration below, and make sure to add this surreal festival to your bucket list:


People gather around a 'falla' to watch the traditional 'Mascleta' (firecrackers show) during the Fallas festival in Valencia on March 16, 2019. 


A ninot depicting Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez flying in the Falcon presidential plane is pictured in the “Antiguo Reino” falla during the Fallas festival.


A ninot depicting a gorilla with the face of US president Donald Trump


Ninots depicting Spanish former queen and king, Sofia (L) and Juan Carlos I, are pictured in a falla, 


Three 'ninots' depicting dictators Joseph Stalin (L), Adolf Hitler (C) and Augusto Pinochet 


A woman watches two ninots depicting Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez (L) as a prince who tries to wake up a Sleeping Beauty thatt turns up to be Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.


Brexit also got a menton, alongside deposed president in exile, Carles Puigdemont. 

Pablo Iglesias. leader of Podemos depicted as a bathing Roman alongside PM Pedro Sanchez

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A ninot depicting jailed Catalan independence leader Oriol Junqueras will also be set on fire at the end of the fiesta. 

READ ALSO: Twelve epic festivals in Spain to attend in 2019

 

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FESTIVALS

CONFIRMED: Valencia will hold its Fallas fire festival in September 2021

The eastern Spanish city of Valencia has announced that it will finally hold its famous Las Fallas celebrations this September, as both March 2021’s festival and last year's event were cancelled due to the pandemic.

CONFIRMED: Valencia will hold its Fallas fire festival in September 2021
ON FIRE: Effigies depicting US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un being burt down as is customary, during Las Fallas in 2018 Photo: JOSE JORDAN / AFP

Valencia’s Falla Assembly of presidents voted that this year’s event would be held from September 1st to the 5th, with 93.3 percent of its members in favour of holding it later this year.

President of the Central Board of Fallera, Carlos Galiana, explained that holding the festival in the first week of September has its advantages. “There are school holidays, the weather has not yet worsened, it does not coincide with the town’s patron saint festivals, and oxygen is given to the economy,” he said. 

An earlier proposal, to change the dates of Las Fallas to July, was dismissed due to delays in the vaccination rate.

The festival is usually held in the week running up to March 19th to honour San José or Saint Joseph, and features the creation of huge sculptures made from papier-mâché.

Nit de la Cremá during Las Fallas in Valencia. Photo: JOSE JORDAN / AFP

Whimsical, satirical and fantastical, the giant sculptures are displayed across the city, before being ceremoniously burnt during the Nit de la Cremá,  usually on the night of March 19th. 

Valencia’s Las Fallas attracts over two million visitors each year and generates around €60 million in revenue for the city, meaning that cancelling it twice has been a big blow to the economy.

While most aspects of Las Fallas will take place in September such as the ofrenda offering of flowers to the Virgin outside the cathedral, the fireworks and the burning, it is not yet known whether the famous mascletà will be able to take place.

Held every afternoon during the festival in the lead-up to the Nit de la Crema, it features thousands of people packed into Valencia’s Plaza Mayor to listen to an ear-splitting display of firecrackers.

READ ALSO: IN PICS: Red hot satire at Las Fallas fiesta in Valencia

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