Valencia on the night of March 19th. These photographs were taken in Plaza de la Virgen, Plaza Ayuntamiento, and behind the Torres de Serranos.
The night of la crema is dark and filled with ash as the fires of the falls burn down. There is both celebration and sadness in the air. The air is warm from the fires across the city.
The festival of Fallas is filled with historical significance. It is the festival of the carpenter saint, Saint Joseph. In the spring, carpenters would clean out their shops, leaving wood on the street that would be burned, over the years this wood transformed, first into small shapes, or designs, and then into sculptures. As time passed it became a competition with the monuments being satirical as they dealt with the social issues at hand. A festival grew around this, but always ending the festival was la crema, the night everything is burnt down, in a cleansing restart to the next falls festival.
Present day the festival brings in mass tourism for the city and restaurants and cafes raise their prices taking advantage of the doe-eyed tourists. While this festival is enjoyed by tourists, it still has a very large base in the cities identity and culture. Falleros and Falleras are very serious and emotional about their falls experience. Many traditional ceremonies are performed to keep the cultural aspect of the festival, such as La Ofrenda and the parades throughout the city.
I chose this event because of its significance to the city. This festival is at the very heart and soul of the city. Being able to experience this festival as someone who lives in the city was an incredible experience, the constant noise and activity brought so much live to a typically slow and leisurely paced city. I enjoyed La Crema and being able to be apart of an emotional portion of the festival.