VALENCIA – From September 1-5, Las Fallas will be celebrated again for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic. The district council of Valencia has announced the traditional Las Fallas street festival will continue. This is despite the high number of corona infections in the region.
However, the annual celebration in honor of Saint Joseph will look different this year due to regional corona measures. Firstly, there is a curfew and also a maximum group size of ten people applies. Furthermore, regional president Ximo Puig said these will not be the only restrictions that will apply during the celebration.
Flower offering without an audience
The Valencian Ministry of Health has made wearing a face mask mandatory at all times and in every place. This applies to both inside and outside. Also in this adapted edition, the Ofrenda, the most important part of the festival where a flower offering is made to the Virgen de Los Desamparados, will take place without an audience. Normally in this procession, around 100,000 people move towards the Plaza de la Virgen.
The Ofrenda will take place in September with a significantly reduced and selected number of participants. Therefore, only a small group of falleros, members of the Fallas associations, will be allowed to attend the procession and the flower offering.
In this year’s edition, the daily fireworks in the Plaza Ayuntamiento (Las Mascletàs) and the decorative fireworks in the Jardín del Turia have been removed from the program. Again, normally thousands of people come to this daily spectacle, which is unthinkable in the given circumstances.
La Cremà, the traditional burning of the dolls at the end of the festival, will also continue. But at an earlier time due to the curfew starting at 1.00 am. A reduced audience size with groups of up to ten people and mandatory social distancing will also apply to this.
Las Fallas associations
All fallas associations must also adhere to the rules that apply to the catering industry. And also to the maximum group size for the traditional organisation of joint lunches and dinners.
Las Fallas normally takes place in mid-March. The word ‘fallas’ refers not only to the festival itself but also to the colossal, carnivalesque dolls made of wood or papier-mâché that satirically represent what is going on in Spain. On the last day, all the dolls are set on fire by the winning falla.