Fallas, the opening ceremonies

Fallas opened yesterday with two short ceremonies.

At 1 pm, several of the city bands converged on the Plaza de la Reina (5 minutes from our apartment) and walked down to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, where they played the Valencian anthem en masse.  At 2 pm occurred the first mezcleta, which is (guess what?) a giant firecracker send-up.  Actually, some of the firecrackers are very large sparklers that trail colored smoke, so there is something to watch as well as to listen to.  Valencianos wait for the “tremoloterre”, or earthquake, a moment that occurs where the noise is so loud that the ground shakes!!  Pretty cool, actually.  The noise is not high-pitched, so it didn’t really hurt my ears.

At night, the official opening ceremony was held at the Torres de Serrano (1 minute from our apartment).  High on the towers a platform had been erected, where the adult and child Fallas queens and their courts, as well as other high muckety mucks were standing.  After a couple of short speeches, one by the queen, a beautiful set of (wait for it…..) FIREWORKS was presented.  Only about 5-6 minutes, but spectacular.  Not to mention directly over our heads, like giant umbrellas.

Nothing occurs until next Saturday except for the daily mezcleta at2 pm in the Plaza del Ayuntamento.  However, as one walks around the old quarter, one can see glimpses of the various fallas being built.  I’ve been wondering how they manage to get these 60-foot high constructions through the streets, but it appears they don’t have to.  They build the pieces (ninots) separately.

Next Saturday, at 10:30 pm there is a big parade where the ninots are carried to the Plaza del Ayuntamento.  They will be on display there until the 15th, when they will be moved to the various assembly locations.  More on that later.

As far as I have been able to determine, all the Fallas are set up in the old town.  Good for us, as we can see them all very easily.  I don’t remember if I have sent you any photos of earlier prize-winning ninots.  All are burned on the last night of Fallas except for the “People’s Choice” ninots, one each in the adult and children’s categories.  Attached are photos of a couple of past winners.

Last week we went to a mall nearby to look for shoes for Gary.  We accidently stumbled upon the models of this year’s children’s fallas.  People were voting on which one they liked the best.  Close to the end of the festival, this year’s escapees from the fire wll be announced.

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