Before coming to Valencia, I researched it quite a bit. I may have missed the websites where it talked about the weather (It is still not very warm, and it’s rather rainy), but I did happen to stumble across a page that talked about Fallas, Valencia’s yearly festival.
Fallas took place from March 1st-19th, with the main event occurring during the days of March 15th-19th. Valencia transformed from a quiet, peaceful place to a city of lights and loud celebrations. Banners hung across every street. Shining lights were draped around trees across the city. Parades of people ruled every alleyway. It was truly a sight to see.
One biggest events of Fallas was the mascletà. This event occurred every day at 2pm in the town hall. Of course, Valencian people made it a huge spectacle. The town hall was filled with excited individuals ready to see fireworks and the massive statues that community members created.The mascletà sounded like an atomic bomb: I could hear it all the way from my workplace, and I am not that close to the town hall. I could also hear the crowd of people cheering and celebrating.
There were also nightly firework shows that took place. Endless streaks of colors filled the night sky for what seemed like hours. On one of the last few nights of the celebration, I was invited to a rooftop where I got to see the fireworks with a beautiful view of the entire city.
The next biggest thing that I observed during Fallas was the amount of food stands that were birthed throughout the city. There were stands that sold a traditional Spanish treat, called the buñuelo, and others that sold frozen lemonade and churros. I probably gained a couple pounds off these sweets, because every time I passed them I just had to buy at least one. They tasted incredible.
Overall, I loved the community spirit that Fallas brought out within the city I am studying abroad in. Valencia definitely takes it seriously, and you can tell the people love to party. There were nights where I wouldn’t even get back to my room until 6am because I was at a block party. I am grateful I got to experience what seemed like Valencia’s version of the Fourth of July.
Aubrey Caster is a college student at University of Tennessee Knoxville. He is an ISA Identity & Inclusion Blogger and is studying abroad with ISA in Valencia, Spain.