By Naila Missous, Valencia
If you want non-stop nightlife at its frenzied best then Valencia from 15-19 of March is where to be.
Revellers throng the streets and the last call at many of the bars and clubs isn’t until the wee hours, if at all.
Intended as a tribute to St. Joseph, patron saint of the carpenters’ guild, where it is said the tradition arose from. The basis of the fiesta is the “Fallas” monuments. In a display of art they are exhibited in the streets during Fallas week. On the last day, at midnight, they are set on fire and burn in spectacularly beautiful pyres.
Valencia comes alive for Las Fallas every year to celebrate spring arriving in Spain. Locals crash bangers in the streets and parades from all corners of the city bang their drums all day. Comfortable shoes and high energy are the order of the day.
The craziest thing about Valencia’s Fallas festival, at least for this outsider, is the daily ritual of the Mascletà. This is a daytime percussion firework display that happens every afternoon during Fallas beginning precisely at 2 p.m. and lasting only a couple of minutes. This firecrackers tingles your ear drums pushing them to the opposite sides of your head and your tiny hairs on your arms shake with reverberation from the show.
And how loud is it? Newcomers such as myself are cautioned to keep their mouths open during the explosions as this is supposed to keep your ear canals open so that you won’t burst an eardrum. I’m no ear, nose, and throat specialist but I figure it’s better to be safe than deaf. Abrir la boca is key here: the first piece of advice issued by everyone in the square.
Midnight of each night is where everyone gathers on the bridges to watch the colourful fireworks display.
Because Las Fallas is broken down into dozens of local celebrations, it is impossible to see everything that is worth seeing. Everywhere you go there are parades and processions, music and dancing, food and beverages, and crowds. I was standing in line to purchase buñuelos minding my own business when a procession of men and women in traditional garb marched by accompanied by a brass band. Something you don’t see every day—except during Las Fallas.
Las Fallas lasts for a week and culminates in the burning of all the cardboard manufactured 20ft tall statues are set alight to a spectacular blaze and spring is now aloud to commence.
Viva la fiesta.