Valencia finally celebrates Las Fallas and says goodbye to ‘Covid dolls’

by Lorraine Williamson
Las Fallas dolls

VALENCIA – Valencia said goodbye to the ‘fallas of the pandemic‘ on Sunday evening. Since March 2020, almost 760 large dolls have been waiting in sheds to celebrate the annual festival. Last weekend it finally happened. 

After the postponement of Las Fallas in March 2020 and multiple plans to celebrate the festival over the past year and a half, it was announced in mid-August Las Fallas in Valencia would continue in a modified form from September 1-5. 

Valencia enjoys Las Fallas despite restrictions 

Although Ximo Puig announced some restrictions and adjustments a month ago, this annual tradition could still be enjoyed. Including the burning of the dolls. The Spanish news channel RTVE.es writes that a few hours earlier than normal, due to the curfew, nearly 760 dolls went up in flames on Sunday evening. This time, however, the ritual, which usually heralds the beginning of spring, marked the end of the summer heat. And hopefully the end of rigorous restrictions due to the coronavirus. 

During the night of 1 to 2 September, there were some tense moments when a heavy downpour passed over Valencia. Some fallas that were already in place took minor damage, including the winning falla. Fortunately, the fire brigade was able to save most of the fallas. And so the party could continue on September 3. 

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Valencia is the first European city with a big folk festival 

Valencia kept to a strict timetable. Between 8-9 pm the children’s dolls were burned followed by the adults’ dolls from 10-11 pm. However, the fireworks were cancelled this year to avoid large crowds. Those present were also required to wear face masks. With this adapted version of Las Fallas, Valencia entered the books as one of the first cities in Europe to celebrate a major folk festival since the start of the pandemic. 

Winning falla went up in flames 

Like every year, the most beautiful doll of Las Fallas is chosen by a jury. This year, that honour went to the Meditadora. The meditating woman, of Convento Jerusalén-Matemático Marzal was designed by artists Manolo Martín and José Ramón Espuig. Last year this doll wore a face mask, but this was omitted last weekend. The spectacle went up in flames at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento around 11 pm, as the climax and conclusion of Las Fallas. The total budget for Las Fallas in 2021 was €7.8million. 

Fallas also went up in flames last weekend in other cities including Gandia, Torrent, Sagunto, and Catarroja. 

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