Valencia’s Fallas Festival: Welcoming Spring with Fire (18 photos)

This post is by Pierre-Louis Ferrer from The Atlantic Photo

For hundreds of years, residents of Valencia, Spain, have celebrated the arrival of spring and paid tribute to San Jose, the patron saint of the carpenters’ guild, by building and then ceremonially burning huge monuments made of wood, cardboard, and paper. The monuments, or fallas, consist of ninots, or figures, many of which are caricatures that portray current events and celebrities. The two-week-long festival features parades, fireworks, and fiestas, and ends with the burning of hundreds of fallas, signifying cleansing and renewal.

Two large sculptures of doves are consumed by flames.
A view of the burning Falla del Ayuntamiento, a 20-meter-long monument built of wood and cardboard, during the Fallas festival, in Valencia, Spain, on March 19, 2024. The dove figures signify a demand for peace in Gaza and Ukraine.

Burak Akbulut / Anadolu / Getty)