Spain 2006

A visit to our good friends Janette and Kevin's villa in Spain

March 2006

All images 2006 Laurie & Kairen Wilson 




Guadalest cont/...


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Kairen had a succesful shopping trip!


in the games room at the villa

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The Fallas in Gandia

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The fireworks are loud!


...not a lot to see!

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The Fallas

Some 700 fallas, or large and small papier-mache monuments mounted over wood frames, are burnt to cinders on the 19th March in a tribute to St Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, and to the coming of the spring solstice. It is a ritual recovered from pre-Christian times which the Catholic church now rightfully claims as its own, paying homage to Our Lady of the Forsaken, the city's patron saint.

Falla (the monument itself) originated from the wooden candleholders, called "parots" or "pelmodos" that city carpenters used in their workshops during the winter, bringing them out into the streets in the spring and burning them up in a night-time celebration. It was customary to adorn these "stands" with old clothes and even to place masks over them to imitate some local character.  They would then be immolated to celebrate the coming of warm weather.  





The "parot" then was converted into a humerous character known as a "ninot" from the word meaning something like "a doll, a grotesque figurine, a chump".  They were made in an ironic tone to look like local authority figures, clergymen, ladies and squires etc. 

Although some "ninots" are saved from the flames by popular vote, fallas artists also get together to rescue other characters or figurines or even whole sections of a monument.  These unburnt representations can be seen at the Fallas Guild Museum.  It is located in the quarter of the city known as Cuidad Fallera with workshops and factory bays.  Work continues here throughout the year in preparation for the spring festivity.  The atmosphere in Valencia during the Fallas symbolises the flowering gardens and orchards in the spring.  Marching bands play from morning till night and the day is started with bangers and rockets "la desperta" the "wake up" fireworks.

From the 1st March the noisy displays called the "mascleta" are staged at 14.00 every day in Plaza del Ayuntamiento. 



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The fallas festivity has always included a flower offering to Our Lady of the Forsaken since 1945.  Two afternoons are dedicated to the parades composed of all the Fallas Commissions, headed by the Fallas Queens and their Courts of Honour. Traditional costumes are worn and baskets full of flowers are carried. 

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Guarded by the Miguelete tower, the Plaza de la Virgen is transformed into a flower garden during the offering.  The facade of the basilica becomes a floral tapestry that covers the entire wall, giving shape to a huge representation of Our Lady.  

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A walk up the hill at the back of the villa


Inspecting the results of the recent forest fire that stopped just short of the villa

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...my mate Kev's got a Lamborghini in his garage


...shame it's a central heating boiler!!!

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End of a great holiday

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                    Copyright 2006 KEBLAWBEN - Laurie & Kairen Wilson. All rights reserved

Many of the images on this page are  copyright Laurie Wilson/Alamy

Stock photography by Laurie Wilson at Alamy
This page was last updated on 13-08-2006.