About Valencia

From Gothic quarters to futuristic architecture, Valencia has it all. Valencia is a city in which the light and sea of the Mediterranean coexist in a striking manner as in a Sorolla painting. The third largest city in Spain, Valencia has an ample cultural offer together with a boiling nightlife and beautifull beaches. Valencia bursts with tradition, and loads of fiestas are organized for the enjoyment of the people thoughout the year, but the most important of all remains "Las Fallas". The spectacular City of Arts and Sciences with its extravagant
architecture is one of the must see places in Valencia. In recent years, important international sport events like the America's Cup and the Formula 1 Grand Prix on a street circuit at the city's port have put Valencia more than ever on the world map.

Las Fallas Festival from Valencia - History

There are a few different theories regarding the origin of Las Fallas festival. One theory suggests that Las Fallas started in the Middle Ages as a simple pagan ritual, when artisans put out their broken artifacts and pieces of wood that they sorted during the winter then burnt them to celebrate the Spring Equinox, the longest day of the year and the subsequent coming of summer. Valencian carpenters used planks of wood to hang their candles on. These planks were known as parots. During the winter, these were needed to provide light for the carpenters to work by. With the coming of the Spring, they were no longer necessary, so they were burned. With time, and the intervention of the ultra-Catholic Spanish Church, the date of the burning of these parots was made to coincide with the celebration of the festival of San José (19th of March), the patron saint of the carpenters.

Las Fallas
Las Fallas de Valencia 2009

Las Fallas tradition continued to change. The parot was given clothing so that it looked like a doll or a real person. Features identifiable with some well-known person from the neighborhood were added as well. Children and young people collected objects to be burnt on bonfires called fallas. All were burnt the evening before St. Joseph's Day in the midst of much celebration. With time, people of the neighborhoods organized the process of the creation of las Fallas and monuments including various figures were born.

For a long time, the term falla was used indistinctly for the torches, bonfires, rag dolls and platforms, but gradually the term came to be restricted to the satirical pyres that exposed vices or prejudices to public scorn. The special characteristic of the satirical fallas is that they represent a reprehensible social action or attitude. They have a specific subject and aim to criticise or ridicule. They are more than mere bonfires or pyres because they show scenes referring to people, events or collective behaviour that their makers - the falleros - consider should be criticised or corrected. The two most popular subjects for fallas are eroticism and social criticism.

Las FallasLas Fallas de Valencia 2009

Until the beginning of the twentieth century, Las Fallas were tall boxes with three or four wax dolls dressed in cloth clothing. This changed when the creators began to use cardboard. The creation of Las Fallas continues to evolve in modern day, when largest monuments are made of polyurethane and soft cork easily molded with hot saws. These techniques have allowed Las Fallas to be created in excess of 30 meters. During the 20th century, Las Fallas had become lavish, majestic and imposing - large enough to be seen from a distance and the competitiveness introduced by the awards meant that the artists strove to produce monumental, elaborate creations.

The most important elements are of Las Fallas: cardboard, plaster and wax, without forgetting the wood of the frames and the metal mesh covered with sacking for the large figures. Using these simple materials, the Valencian artists emulate the large, long-lasting creations of sculptors, showing their skill in the production of grandiose monuments. The most difficult and complex task is the construction of moulds for the heads. These are based on clay models which are then cast in plaster and subsequently in wax to give heads that are then completed by adding a moustache, a squint or a sneering expression to give a non-human touch and turn them into the characters featured in the falla.


Post a Comment


  © Blogger template AutumnFall by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP