A friend of mine from here in Madrid, Erica C., snapped the above and below pick while she was in Valencia this weekend. The famous festival called Las Fallas was in full swing and many of the Valencians were out in traditional dress. I asked her to use these pics on my blog because I just LOVE it! The juxtaposition of this woman in the Old World dress...so authentic, right down to the shoes...and there she sits, in her New World chair taking a smoke break! Classic! Here's what the outfit looks like when standing up, albeit on a different girl...
Here's what they have to say about the festival on SpainTravelGuide.com, "Definitely considered one of the most wacky and unique festivals in Spain, Las Fallas de Valencia – literally translated to mean ‘the fires’ in Valenciano – is a massive festival in Valencia, celebrated in vigour and awe every March.
This grand festival is the biggest of its kind in Valencia, and is much anticipated by the Valencianos. If you happen to be in town during the Fallas, don’t be surprised to see huge blazing fires around the city.The festival is focused on creating huge cardboard, wood, papier-mâché and plaster statues that are referred to as “fallas” or “ninots”, and then setting them on fire.
Substantial effort is put into making them look realistic; most of them depict a myriad of daily-life characters and topics such as corrupt politicians and celebrities. Las Fallas is a very labour-intensive festival, with the giant statues taking up to a year to prepare and can cost up to $60,000. A year-round effort is placed into making the festival a success."
A little about the history of the festival from SpainTravelGuide.com: "Las Fallas started out as a feast day for Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. Athought the exact origins are not clearly known, most believe that the fires evolves from the pagan rituals celebrating the arrival of spring and cultivation season. Back in those days (approximately 16th century), streetlights in Valencia were only used in the Spanish winter, when nights were bitter and cold. The wooden structures that used to contain these street lamps were ceremoniously burned on Saint Joseph’s day as the days got longer.
Through the years, it slowly evolved into a five-day, multifaceted celebration involving massive fires. Today, the festival has become much of a celebratory event. The population of Valencia, swells from just over 1 million to an estimated three million during Las Fallas celebrations. Flame-lovers and festival revelers from all around Spain flock to Valencia to be part of the festivities."
So, basically, they spend all year, making these amazing floats and then they save the best one and burn the rest to the ground! My husband has always wanted to go this festival, but after our Frankfurt New Year's Eve experience, it will have to wait until the kids go off to college! Hasta luego...