The countdown has begun in Spain as people get ready to take part in Valencia’s famous Fallas Festival. The festival, which starts on the 15th March, is a traditional festival that celebrates Saint Joseph in the city of Valencia, taking place during the four days leading up to the 19th March.
The spring festival is named after paper- mâché statues constructed by locals during the festival called falla. During the time leading up to the festival, around 700 fallas shaped like celebrities and politicians are displayed all over the city, some towering 30 metres high. The fallas are well known for making political statements and jesting at current affairs issues around the world.
In the Medieval times, wood workers would sweep up spare chunks of wood and put them into a huge bonfire on the feast day of their patron saint St Joseph, the last day of the festival. The same idea takes place in modern day, but with the addition of burning the paper- mâché statues on the fire.
In recent years famous faces such as Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and Jose Mourinho have all had the honour (or dishonour!) of having their faces reconstructed in paper- mâché and then burnt on the final day of the festival. The duke and duchess of Cambridge, Barak Obama and Angela Markel have all also received the falla treatment.
It’s not all just bonfires and firecrackers though, several other events take place during the four day festival period including the “Flower Offering to the Lady Forsaken" parade, a 2 day parade that ends is a ceremony in the city square where around 40 tonnes of pink, white and red carnations are placed onto a giant figure of The Virgin.