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Fireworks, Music and Puppets in Flames: Welcome to Las Fallas

To see more of Juan Carlos’ photography, follow @jcarumu on Instagram. Discover inspiring moments from the festival in Valencia, Spain, by exploring #Fallas2016.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish.)

Giant wooden puppets, over-the-top gowns and a deafening storm of fire and gunpowder: welcome to Fallas, one of the biggest festivals in Spain, taking place this week in the Mediterranean city of Valencia. “There is smoke all over the streets from the fireworks,” Valencian student and Fallas lover Juan Carlos Ruiz (@jcarumu) says. “Thousands dance to the music of bands playing in every corner and stop at the traditional food stalls offering paella and churros con chocolate, a must during Fallas.” Local artisans spend months building the satiric ninots, puppets made of wood and papier-mâché that rise up to 98 feet (30 meters) tall. They will end up in flames during the night of La Cremà (which translates as “the burning”) to pay homage to the fire while welcoming the spring. “This is my favorite moment. It’s such a magical night,” Juan Carlos says. “The city is covered by the light of fireworks and flames.” #Fallas2016