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La Crema - the Burning of the Fallas

This is the final catharsis of the Fallas Festival, when all of the Fallas-Structures will be burned to the cheers of the crowd.


Schedule

The Crema will take place consecutively - from 10pm to 1am:
10 pm - Fallas Infantiles (Children Fallas)
10.30 pm - The Prize Winner of Fallas Infantiles (One of the Fallas Especiales)
11 pm - Falla Infantil of Plaza de Ayuntamento
0 am - Fallas
0.30 am - The Prize Winner of the Fallas (One of the Fallas Especiales)
1 am - Falla de Plaza de Ayuntamento

Pronounced as cremA - "burning", as opposed to crEma - "crème"

For those who worry, there is no need to. First of all, the crews know what distance to keep you at to avoid any problems. Secondly, the Fallas-Sculptures are ingeniously constructed to collapse more or less vertically.

However, be aware that it can get quite hot, so it's not a good idea to stand right in front. Also, try not to be in the face of the wind on a windy day - you will catch a lot of ash and may be even ambers.


Las Fallas fiesta in Valencia photos / images  - See our image galleries of Fallas-Sculptures 2006

To see them all?

Impossible. The fallas burn in 15-20 minutes. A lot of streets are cordoned off for safety reasons since most fallas are on crossroads. Moving through the city, especially without knowing it well, will be problematic.

Remember - the festival wasn't designed for everyone to see many Fallas burn. The Fallas-Communities make their two Fallas side-by-side, drink and party there on the same spot for 10 days, then they just stay there and burn them, without caring much for what the neighbouring Falla is doing.

Our Suggested Schedule

However, this is Spain and not everyone goes by the official, so there is a way to get the most out of Crema - that is to see 4 -5 fallas burn.

Falla 1 - Any Falla Infantil
Since the Fallas Infantiles get burned couple of hours before the big Fallas, you can easily see the one you like and then move on.

Falla 2 - Around Plaza de la Reina
Try to make your next Falla somewhere around Plaza de la Reina. Seeing Crema in those old narrow streets is also a very atmospheric experience. The burning of a small falla is always a more genuine and authentic thing to see - this is where the real soul of the original Fallas is.

Falla 3 - Plaza de Ayuntamento
Now cut through to Mercado Central and join the crowds at Plaza de Ayuntamento. This is the main falla of the city and it will be the final act for everyone to get together with huge crowd cheers and spectacular fireworks. Make sure, however, that you remain on the Mercado Central side of Plaza de Ayuntamento. If you are into firewokrs it also isn't that essential to go to Plaza de Ayuntamento - every falla will have ts own spectacular fireworks - see this incredible photo of the initial phase on "Traveling in Spain"

Falla 4 - Plaza del Mercado
Now get back to Mercado Central and watch the burning of the falla in front ot it. They keep this falla for later on purpose - to make the night longer.

Falla 5 - Plaza de Doctor Collado
And finally, the final act and the biggest fun of the night. This falla traditionally gets burned last, at around 2am, due to an old tradition. This is where the firemen come at the end of such a hard night to have fun. The crowd starts abusing the firemen, shouting "bombero maricon" (fireman is gay) and once the firemen are done with the falla they start hosing water over the crowds. For a good half an hour the crowd makes up imaginative abuses and the firemen chase them around the square and into the streets.

Is This It?

Yes, this is it. The night will have been in quite a low key anyhow, with everyone being in the state of the biggest hangover ever. The word "catharsis" doesn't really fit - it is more like "can't take any more, just get it over and done with". After watching the crema with the last few drops of energy, the crowds will be happy to just go home and sleep it all off. If you have made the best of the Fallas, you will have had more than enough party too.

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