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The smell of freshly cut ham and cheese, the clanking of buckets filled with beer, loud blinding bangs, the smell of burnt wood, and the intense heat upon my face. What’s causing these blissful sensations? The annual Spanish festival of Las Fallas. If there is one thing that we can count on, it’s that the Spanish know and will always know how to throw a great party. The Valencian celebration of Las Fallas does not fall short of a great party.
What’s Las Fallas? In its simplicity, it’s a traditional celebration held in the honor of St. Joseph. We have to remember, where we are in the world, this is southern Europe and the influences of the Catholic church are very prevalent and most of the celebrations are centered around religion. Catholics know how to party though and we have plenty of them throughout the calendar year.
Again you’re asking me what is Las Fallas? Okay, okay, you have worn me down. It’s just one of the coolest celebrations of all times, especially if at anytime in your life you enjoyed burning things. Every year neighborhood groups called Casal Faller come together and build ninots, which are large wooden puppets. When I say large, I mean as tall as buildings and they are masterly crafted into a traditional theme of satirical jabs at anyone who draws attention.
So after days of celebrating and observing these massive puppets there is only one thing left to do and that is to burn them all down to the ground. Yes after all that hard work, they set them on fire and the city seems to go up in a blaze as the art works are engulfed and turned into blazing bonfires. It is a beautiful and mesmerizing scene as the fires towers up towards the stars; fireworks are going off, leading the crowd to the next ninot to go up in a blaze. The crowd thunderous cheers and the copious amount of beer and food is consumed in a joyous symphony and is what makes it so special and electric. That is what I am craving and as March 19th rolls upon us I will dream of those Ninots, beers, ham, and the heat of that blazing fire. Long live Las Fallas!