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The 'fallas' of Valencia are the big celebrations of the city, that happen from the 15 to the 19 of March, in honor to San Jose, patron saint of the carpenters.
Its origin goes back to the 18th century, when on eve of San Jose dummies and dolls (ninots) were showed hung in the middle of the street, alluding to some censurable or shameful event. The same day, there were gathered old utensils and other combustible materials, which were burnt the night before San Jose, by a wide popular participation.
In the photo, falla of Convent Jerusalem of 2005, which obtained the second prize.
What in a beginning were heaps of old objects, dummies and dolls, which were burning in honor San Jose, soon evolved up to turn into authentic monuments that, in satirical and critical tone, allude to persons and reprehensible events.
To the feet of the figures ('ninots'), are placed sheets with writen verses that explain what is represented in the falla.
In the photo, detail of the falla of the street Convent Jerusalem, which obtained the second prize of the year 2005.
The traditional fallas consist of three elements:
1.-The base: Of scanty height, it serves as support for the explanatory verses and for the different scenes that the ninots represent.
2.-The central body: It provides sustentation to the following, most important element of the falla:
3.-The culmination : Figure of big dimensions that must condense the topic on which the falla turns, and that is developed in detail by the base figures.
In the photo, culmination of the falla of the Town hall, in the year 2005, under the motto 'and you, what are you painting?, that was dedicated to the world of the art.
The fallas are constructed, traditionally, using as materials the wood, the carton, the plaster and the wax.
The fallas artist builds a mold with mud to create the heads of the ninots
These molds are covered with plaster and emptied, to refill them with wax, that once hardened, will form the base of the ninot head, which will have to be painted and adorned.
The bodies are elaborated by wet carton, subject to plaster casts. Once the carton is dried, the plaster is eliminated and the ninot is placed on a frame of wood to give it solidity.
It is very habitual the representation of popular prominent figures of different areas (politicians, singers, sportsmen).
In the photo, Jose Maria Aznar (ex-president of the government) and Mariano Rajoy (leader of the opposition), characterized as pilgrims. They seem to be lost in the way.
There are more than 700 fallas, from 15th to March 19, adorning every corner of the streets of Valencia.
The fallas divide in two big categories: major (principal)
and child (dedicated to the children). Each of these
divides in turn in sections, according to the budget and the results obtained
in the previous years.
The special section groups to the most important and spectacular fallas. In the year 2005, the winning falla cost 360.000 Euros.
In the photo, a scene of the infantile fault of 2005 of the Town hall.
The 700 fallas that stand firm during the celebrations, only are exhibited for 4 days. On the 19th in the night, all of them will burn almost simultaneously.
In the photo, scene of a child fallat that tries to imagine the future profession of those who, just now, are only children.
After the "plantá" (placing) of the falla, a juror studies all the monuments and distributes the prizes after a deliberation that becomes eternal for the fallas people.
On the 15th, the falleras commissions gather the prizes granted to the child fallas, in procession and accompanied by bands of music. On the 16th the prizes of the major fallas are gathered .
In the image, falleras gathering the prizes of their falla. They are dressed in the traditional suit that imitates royal(real) models of the XVIIIth and XIXth century.
In the night of March 19, all the monuments will disappear under the flames.
It is its unique purpose and for it the fallas were created, to ridicule the negative aspects of the society and to make them disappear among the flames.
At 22:00, the child fallass are burned.
At 00:00 hours, all the major fallas are burt, except the winner of the first prize, that burns at 00:30, and the town hall falla, which burns at 01:00
Only two ninots are saved from the burning: the one that the public chooses for voting before the beginning of the fallas, that falleros will guard in the museum, and the one that the major fallera of the winning fault chooses from her falla.
Everything else, disappears consumed by the flames, before the surprise of the visitor and the illusion of the fallero for the fallas of the following year