In Valencia, Spain they
hold an annual traditional celebration in commemoration of Saint Joseph.
The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments burnt
during the celebration.
There are different conjectures
regarding the origin of the Falles festival. One suggests that the
Falles started in the Middle Ages, when artisans disposed of the broken
artifacts and pieces of wood they saved during the winter by burning
them to celebrate the spring equinox.
Valencian carpenters used planks of wood called parots to hang their
candles on during the winter, as these were needed to provide light to
work by. With the coming of the spring, they were no longer necessary,
so they were burned. Over time, and with the intervention of the Church,
the date of the burning of these parots was made to coincide with the
celebration of the festival of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of
The five days
and nights of Falles might be described as a continuous street party.
There are a multitude of processions: historical, religious, and
comedic. Crowds in the restaurants spill out into the streets.
Explosions can be heard all day long and sporadically through the night.
Everyone from small children to elderly people can be seen throwing
fireworks and noisemakers in the streets, which are littered with
pyrotechnical debris. The timing of the events is fixed, and they fall
on the same date every year.
As part of this five day celebration
there is a sort of, for lack of a better translation, a “Miss Falla”
pageant where two Queens (Falleras Mayores) are chosen to be the
official representatives of the whole Fallas. One is an adult, known as
the “Fallera Mayor de Valencia,” and the other is a child, known as the
“Fallera Mayor Infantil de Valencia.”
What does it have to do
with historical costuming, you might ask? The contestants for the Falla
Queens, and the winners, along with their court, dress in elaborate18th
Who wants to go to Spain now?
*Credit Unknown. Images from Google and Pinterest.