Valencia Falles 2021

Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
1,594
When we moved to Valencia, Spain in December 2019 we heard various accounts from natives and expats about the 19 day festival in March called Falles. It's been around since the late 1800s, and involves a city-wide "artistic" competition to design statues that fill city squares.

That's a simplification.

Many block associations have Fallera Clubs that solicit membership fees from community members that range from $100 to $1500 a month, depending on the wealth of the neighborhood. They save all year to pay artisans to build Disney cartoon styled 3 story monster statues made of wood and covered in polystyrene (plastic) that are mostly political satire, and then rent the public streets to have club VIP parties while the general public mills around on the edges. For 19 days, at 1pm every day, the city launches huge fireworks in front of City Hall that are so loud they can be heard 20km away. Some men and women spend between $10-40K on fabulous costumes to parade around the city with marching bands. And in front of the central cathedral a huge wooden statue of "the virgin" is covered in beautiful flowers.

Meanwhile, small bands of children run around tossing firecrackers from about 11am to midnight every day. At the end, each of the 400 block associations sets up a massive fireworks chain in the street that brings a flame to the statue and they burn it down.

Due to the pandemic, this ritual was postponed in 2020 and again in 2021. But the statues sat in warehouses, so the city decided to host a mini Falles September 1-5 to clear out the inventory for a big Falles in March 2022.

We live on one of the major Falles squares and had front row seats. At first, I thought it was fun. Then it became annoying. Tonight, watching the huge flames, thick black smoke that burnt my throat, I thought it was absolutely disgusting. The city is shrouded in toxic smoke and many were cheering the fires on the street with no masks.

Here are the photos I took this week.

this is in front of our apartment building
IMG_20210827_131413.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Down the street
IMG_20210902_123857.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

A few blocks away
IMG_20210828_141356.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

My Black and White version
P8300037.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Some of the Falles Women in their expensive dresses
_9050265.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

_9050031.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

_9030057.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

The dresses have many layers and it was 30C and parading around town in the hot sun was not fun.
_9030043.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

_9030128.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

We had some fireworks, which was loud on our balcony

_9040071.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Tonight it all ended like a warzone
_9050112.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

_9050167.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


For me, to be burning polystyrene in the middle of a pandemic that kills people through respiratory failure - as well as two months before the world meets in Glasgow for COP26 to announce aggressive new plans to tackle the climate emergency - seems absolutely crazy and it has fundamentally changed my view of Valencia and Valencians.

Photography can inform and challenge our notions of culture and society. I hope this does both.
 

Attachments

  • _9040050.jpg
    _9040050.jpg
    342.9 KB · Views: 17

jhawk1000

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jun 30, 2013
Messages
861
Location
Kansas
Real Name
Mel
Steve, some things that start out good become bad with overdoing. I lived for a while in Germany during Fasching and tired of the constant hubbub.
 

Latest threads

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom