Las Fallas




feast highpoint feast for the senses
fun point (4) worry/worries
parade construct on display
effigy towering feel/felt/felt (2)
local fireworks celebration
senses take part crisis/crises
funny incredible take/took/taken
feature novel (2) believe (2)
passion blood (3) all the time
joy amazing forget/forgot/forgotten
earplug year long blow/blew/blown
modest giant (2) blow away (2)
create highlight cost/cost/cost
parade figure (3) tell/told/told
bonfire based on incredible
scene dream (2) caricature
topic common win/won/won
sight ceremony make/made/made
axe crowded hold/held/held
explain spring (2) pay/paid/paid
sultan order (3) give/gave/given
care (2) grace (2) on the other hand
festival develop couldn’t care less
sign (3) date back spend/spent/spent (2)
craft wooden go up in flames
frame take place give the sign
flame cleansing square (3)
effect town hall throughout
gather carnival make it (2)
loud integral symbolize
deaf deafening make up (2)
bang costume frown upon
frown storm (2) chancellor
get up fireworks imaginary
spare mean (3) challenge (2)
ballot public (2) go/went/gone
honor grow up grow/grew/grown (2)
last (2) austerity dream comes true
decibel illuminate out of the question


Video: Las Fallas in Valencia




A feast for the senses: Las Fallas is five days of fun featuring fireworks, music, dance, traditional costumes, and colorful parades.

A popular highlight of the celebrations is the towering effigies on display throughout the city. For locals, the festival is the highpoint of the year.

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Up to a million tourists visit the city to take part.

Finnish Tourist, One: “It’s so incredible; I can’t believe it! All the time, so many people everywhere. I can’t believe this.”

Finnish Tourist, Two: “It’s amazing. In Finland, there’s no party like this.”

Local Female, One: “It’s not just a week of partying; it’s about passion. It’s in our blood. It’s there year round.”

Local Female, Two: “It’s incredible! It makes you forget all your worries. It make you feel there’s nothing but joy in the world.”

Visitor, One: “It’s my first time here and I’m blown away by everything that’s going on here on the street.”

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Each neighborhood of Valencia is home to a group of locals who work all year long on the construction of the giant effigies.

They’re little more modest than usual this year because of the financial crisis. But the more expensive ones still cost some 300,000 euros to construct.

Each falla tells a story.

Javier Alvarez-Sala Salinas, Fallas Artist: “What we do is create figures that serve as the center of the parades. And they’re based on novels or whatever you want.

Then you develop scenes that people enact around the effigy. And these are based on topical issues such as local or national politics.”

This falla is a caricature of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. She’s a common sight here on the streets of Valencia. She even stars in this year’s winning falla.

Pedro Santaeullai, Fallas Artist: “We show her in an imaginary country called ‘Pastakistan’ — it’s a place we made up. She’s in Arab costume.

And she’s holding an axe to symbolize austerity measures. The message is whoever pays, gives the orders. The sultan on the other hand, couldn’t care less about the crisis.”

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Artists spend a whole year working on their effigies, which then grace the city streets for the first four days of the festival. There are eight hundred of them this year.

Then on the final night of Las Fallas, they’re burned on huge bonfires.

The tradition dates back to the days when in spring, craftsmen burn the wooden frames of the lamps dated for dark winter days.

Pedro Santaeullai, Fallas Artist: “By the time the fires is burning, I’m already thinking of next year’s project. I love watching my work go up in flames.

The bonfires that takes place after these four days have a cleansing effect.”

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Valencia is famous for it’s fireworks displays. Throughout the festival, thousands of people gather at the town hall every afternoon to enjoy the unbelievably loud displays.

It starts when the Carnival Queen gives the sign.

It lasts six minutes and is positively deafening. Some of the bangs are up to a hundred-and-twenty (120) decibels. And earplugs are frowned upon.

When it’s over, the public storms the square.

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The Carnival Queen is an integral part of the festivities.

Begona Jimenez Tarazona, Carnival Queen: “There’re lots of ceremonies. Every day is a challenge. You get up and have a full day of events that you experience once in your life. It means a lot to me.”

Only one effigy is spared the flames. After a public ballot, it goes on display at the city’s Falla Museum — a great honor for the artists who made it.

Sergio Penades, Fallas Artist: “It’s hard to explain. It’s a job that becomes a part of you. You grow up with this tradition, and the festival is why you do it. If you make it, then all your dreams come true in the space of a few hours.”

A good night sleep is out of the question during the festival. At nighttime, the illuminated streets are even more crowded than they are during the day.

This traditional Spanish festival is the perfect way to welcome spring.

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Festival, Festivity. The Las Fallas festival consists of one event on Saturday. True or false? What happens during the celebration? How long does it last?

Celebration. What is the highlight of the festival? What is unique about the celebration? What is the main feature of Las Fallas?

Parade, Procession. Only locals and other Spaniards attend the festival and celebrate. Is this right or wrong? Do they enjoy it? What do people say about the festival?

Feasting. Did amateur artists construct the effigies a few months before the festival?

Fireworks. All the effigies represent cartoon characters in comics or TV. Is this correct or incorrect? What or who do effigies represent? What are some examples?

Dancing. Is the climax of the daily festival a huge feast? What happens during the climax?

Music. Does Las Fallas end at 10 o’clock at night?

Champagne. Does Las Fallas commemorate Spain’s Independence Day? What does Las Fallas commemorate?
Crowd. I have attended the Las Fallas celebration. My friends have been to the Las Fallas festival. Yes or no? Are you from Spain? Have you been to Spain? Have your friends visited Spain?

Live Band, Live Performance. What are some festivals, celebrations or carnivals that you have attended?

Floats. Are there festivals, celebrations or carnivals in your town, city, region or country?

Carnival. Do people make effigies or other artwork for festivals?

Marching Band. These festivals are good business. They are great for the local economy. True or false?

Carnival Queen.
What might happen in the future?

Feasting. Should people create, organize celebrate more and bigger festivals?

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