Pardoned 2022

Brad and I are fascinated by the different traditions and festivals in Europe and around the world. We are going to miss one of the best ones in Valencia by a week. I think we need to plan better the next time we look at locations. The Falles Festival looks like it would be so much fun and very different from anything we have ever seen.

The Falles Festival happens every year from the beginning of March until March 19th to welcome spring and celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph. The festival started in the 18th century and has become more elaborate over the last 100 years. As of 2016 the festival is on UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage List.

Each neighborhood spends the year building a large “Falla” (derived from the Latin word for torch) built around a central figure known as a ninot (Valencian for puppet or doll). The Falles can be several stories tall and cost as much as 100,000 Euro. Each neighborhood fundraises during the year to pay for their entry. They are made of all types of material but are completely flammable.

At the end of the festival they are all burned except one ninot pardoned by popular vote, which goes to the Museu Faller De Valencia. There we saw ninots that were pardoned since the 1930s. We really enjoyed the ninots and the work that went into making them, as well as the posters for each year.

We also had a chance to see the 2023 ninots displayed at the Science Museum and vote on which ninot would be pardoned from the fire, but the line to vote was long and the park bench outside ended up getting our vote. We will have to book our time in Spain for March the next time we want to travel there.