The Valencian tradition of "Las Fallas" is a festival with deep historical origins, and Benidorm - where I live - stages its' own version of the famous event each year in March. Different districts of the town contribute a giant figure of wood and papier mache, called a falla, (also known as a Ninot) to the party, each one trying to outdo the other for imaginative design and flamboyance. There is also a smaller version made for the children. Below you can see a small part of a falla being constructed from start to finish, which takes many months.
The highly decorated, often satirical fallas are used in the many processions and parades that take place during the festivities, such as the "Exaltation" (Offering of Flowers), the "Planta" (placing of the falla) and the "Procession of the Ninots". These are always accompanied by noisy street entertainment and fireworks.
The highlight of the fiestas is the amazing "Crema", when the fallas are set alight at midnight and beyond, in a massive burning hot spectacle - with the fire brigade standing by!
The good news is that one Ninot is always saved from the flames, and preseved to join previous winners at the Musuem of the Ninot, in Valencia, the capital of this region.
These are some pictures taken from the Museum of Fiestas in Alicante, also dedicated to the local tradition of fallas, which I visited with my Mum and stepdad last September. The museum has an amazing array of historical fallas, drawings and information to browse through - and all for free!
As you can see, some are rather cheeky!
And some are mystical, or maybe even a bit sinister...
and others are just plain cute and fantastical!
There were so many wonderful things to see, and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit - thanks to Mum for these fabulous photos by the way!
The Fallas will now carry on until Thursday, so I will be bringing you more information and photos from the events if you wish to visit me another day! x