"A cross between a bawdy Disneyland, the Fourth of July, and the end of the world.”
If there’s one thing Spain does extremely well, it’s festivals. The country is well-known for its cultural events, from the Running of the Bulls to La Tomatina, but the Las Fallas festival in Valencia may just take the cake as the most impressive festival of the year.
The festival began as a celebration of St. Joseph, as Euro News reported, who is the patron saint of carpenters, and has now morphed into a five-day party that millions of people from around the globe travel to take part in.
Now, the festival is all about creating what are known as ninots, which according to PRI are larger-than-life “figurines made of Styrofoam, cardboard, wood, papier-mâché and plaster.” As Euronews noted, the figurines typically depict scenes or people relating to current news and events in a satirical fashion. Often times, the ninots will poke fun at Spanish politicians and Spanish celebrities.
As part of the celebration, the ninots, which can cost more than $100,000 to create and take up to a year to complete, are paraded through the city before they are set on fire in a huge blaze underneath a giant fireworks display set off at midnight.
“The scene at Las Fallas is extremely cathartic and difficult to describe, but resembles a cross between a bawdy Disneyland, the Fourth of July, and the end of the world,” traveler and self-described pyromaniac Janet Morton told Don Quijote.
Of course, this is Spain we're talking about, so there’s much more to see at the festival than a few burning satirical effigies. Other events taking place around the city include bullfights, parades, food events and more. Get inspired to travel to Spain by checking out what the chaotic scene looks like in the video above and start planning your trip now.