Just like every year, March 14th is a red-letter day in the falleros’ and falleras’ calendar. It marks the beginning of six days of joy and festivities that spread throughout the city.
For children especially, the 14th is a special day because it is the day they break up from school and for those of them who are falleros and falleras, it also means the beginning of their celebrations.
What is the Plantà?
On the 14th March at 5:00 p.m. the “Exposición del Ninot” will close. This is where the public gets to vote for the best “ninot” which is one special piece or figure of the monument. At 5:30 p.m. we will all know which one is the “Ninot infantil indultat” which means the winner of the competition and the one that will be saved from the flames next Tuesday.
After the children’s monuments have all been put up , there is a special dinner to commemorate this moment known as the “cena de la plantà infantil”. The children’s fallas must be successfully put up by 8:00 a.m. on March 15th, when the jury will visit them to judge them. Then at 7:30 p.m. the results will be published and we will all know the winners of each category!
The following day the same happens but this time with the big monuments! In the evening, the results of the votes will be published and we’ll find out which adult “ninot” was the best of the bunch! This will then become the “Ninot Indultat” of 2019, and will also be saved from burning in the “Cremà” on March 19th.
At the end of the day the falleros and falleras help the artists to finish the “Plantà” of their big monuments and ninots. Ready for the public to enjoy the beautiful artwork!
Historically, the “Plantà” was done in the traditional way by what Valencians call “al tomb”. This involved a group of people lifting the pieces by pushing them up to standing from one side of the fallas. Nowadays, for safety and saving time, the most common way is to place the falla with a crane.
On March 16th at 8:00 a.m. more than 770 monuments will be standing tall all over the city! Later, at 7:30 p.m. the jury will publish the results, announcing which “falla” has been crowned the best of 2019!
On Sunday 17th and Monday 18th, the most touching event of the Fallas will take place. It’s the “Ofrenda Floral a la Virgen de los Desamparados”.
Falleros and falleras in Valencia and villages around the city walk to the “Plaza de la Virgen” dressed up in traditional clothes, bringing her lots of flowers and asking for wishes of health and safety for the next year.
All the flowers offered to the “Virgen de los Desamparados” are used to make a cloak to dress the virgin during the next few days, while thousands of people go to the square to visit her.
The “Fallera Mayor Infantil” (the designated Queen of the Fallas Festival) is the one who closes the first day of the “Ofrenda”, and the “Fallera Mayor” is the last one to offer her bunch of flowers to the Virgin on the 18th.
Every night from March 15th magnificent fireworks displays are set off in the old riverbed or in the Town Hall square. Most of them start at midnight but depending on the ending of the “Ofrenda Floral”, they can be delayed because the “Falleras Mayores” are the ones responsible for ordering the fireworks start.
If you can’t get close to the city center, don’t worry, because many Fallas in surrounding neighborhoods set off their own fireworks before their own parties and concerts.
There are many events to attend and spectacles to see, but remember to rest, stay safe and respect others’ experiences to enjoy the Fallas Festival as much as possible!
To find out more about Fallas and its events, check out more of our blog posts here.