The Day of the Cridà has finally arrived! Every Valencian who is into Fallas has been waiting for this day the whole year. On the last Sunday of February, Fallas officially begins with a day packed with events to honor this special moment. If you live in Valencia, there’s very little chance that you won’t be made aware of the festival’s opening … because most of these events are extremely loud!
Who needs an alarm clock if you can have a Despertà?! This is the festival’s wake-up call for the city, which shakes everyone out of bed at 7:30 am, sharp. Falleras and Falleros gather at the beginning of Calle La Paz, next to the Parterre Park. They all pick up their boxes of Tro de Bac, a special kind of firecracker, which are basically like children’s Pop-Its, but much bigger and only for adults. Once the Despertà kicks off, these fireworks are thrown forcefully onto the ground, causing a giant, loud explosion. Within a minute the entire street of La Paz resembles a war zone, with noise and smoke everywhere.
The crowd pushes towards the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and at 8am, they set off a massive Terremoto Mascletà, a short but very intense firework. Just to make sure everyone in the city center is wide awake.
Good Morning Valencia!
The Entrance of the Marching Bands
After a quick breakfast and recovery from the Despertà, we move onto the next act: the entrance of the marching bands. These bands are another important part of Fallas, filling the streets of Valencia with music, and a festive vibe. Throughout the course of the festival, these bands will be a constant presence, accompanying the commissions as they parade throughout the city.
Today is their grand entrance — starting at noon, they gather at the Plaza de la Virgin, and then march to the city hall square, where the Fallera Major and her court are waiting to receive them with ribbons.
First Midday Mascleta
Officially, there is a 2pm Mascletà every day from March 1st to the 19th, but the festival’s very first one is shot on the day of the Cridà. This year, Pirotecnia Valenciana had the honor of inaugurating the plaza’s firework cage (which I think of as the gunpowder cathedral). We loved this display with its loud whistles and perfectly timed explosions — it was a very traditional Mascletà.
Finally, La Cridà
It’s now 7pm and we finally arrived at the main act of the day – La Cridà, which is the opening ceremony of Fallas. It’s a huge party with music, a light-show and of course fireworks. There are also speeches from the mayor of Valencia, the Fallera Major and the Fallera Major Infantil, followed by the Valencian Hymn and the fireworks. But it’s so much more than just a sequence of events; by walking towards the Torres de Serranos before the event, you’ll see Fallas groups dancing and singing, along with bands playing music. The same festive scenes happen after the Cridà is over, as the commissions make their way back home. The entire city feels like one big party, and it’s hard to believe that we still have almost three weeks of Fallas to look forward to.
This year we had the honor to experience the Cridà from the rooftop of this boutique hotel.
Ja Estem En Falles!