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Not just a pretty picture

Las Fallas has evolved from simple beginnings centuries ago to an outrageous train-wreck conglomeration of tradition, modernity and a sincere love of explosives. Yet cutting through this strange melange is a sense of humour that it would be unfortunate to miss.

Las Fallas extends the people of Valencia the opportunity to satirise and comment on global and national issues. Whether it’s speaking out against homophobia or expressing their frustration at Spain’s economic situation (hence the Merkel/Poppy statue) most of the fallas will be trying to tell you something. Spend a moment to try and find out what it is.

Have fun - but don't forget the earplugs...

Fun is assured in Valencia over Las Fallas, but returning with your full complement of hearing is not. Whether you manage to squeeze to the front for one of the daily Mascletàs, you get too close to one of the fireworks shows, or you’re just passing through a cracker-happy crowd, you’ll be glad you’ve got something to stuff in your ears.

Tip: And a word of warning for any of the myriad of fireworks events during Las Fallas: If it gets too loud (and it generally will if the Spanish have anything to say about it) don’t block your ears with your fingers as it can trap the sound waves and cause damage. Use earplugs and open your mouth a little so that any pressure changes can equalise easily.

Las Fallas is unlike any other festival on the planet. It is absurd at times, bordering on suicidal the rest of the time and excessive all the time. It is a grand votive offering to our most carnal of desires – fire and chaos – and it will remain in your memory long after the ringing in your ears has subsided.

This year, is undertaking #EuropeanBazaar, a project that documents about 30 of Europe’s most bizarre festivals. Want to know more? Then ‘Like’ One Small World on Facebook or check out the website here.


How not to be blown up, deafened or buried by burning rubble during Spain’s Las Fallas festival
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