The process of building the Fallas figures is called La Plantà – Many visitors to Valencia’s Fallas come only for the last five days of the festival, when all the figures are more or less done. To them, it’s like arriving to a perfectly set table — they haven’t seen all the work which goes into these monuments, some of which require up to two weeks to put together. And that’s not even considering all the work throughout the year, inside the Fallas workshops, to actually create the individual pieces.
For Fallas artists, the entire procedure is stressful: getting the figures out of the workshop, loading them onto trucks, placing them into the plazas (which are often very small), and organizing the pieces for easier assembling. Within a confined space, they maneuver heavy equipment and cranes to build monuments which are several stories high. And on top of all that, this year they had to deal with horrible weather. Strong winds and rain forced the artists to cover the pieces, in order to protect them from the weather so they wouldn’t be ruined before the Fallas figure was even put together.
La Plantà for Fallas 2022 – A Difficult Year
Bad weather also means delays, forcing the artists to work around the clock. Even if they manage to get some sleep, they might return the next morning to statues damaged by the wind and rain, so they have to get straight back to work to fix the ruined pieces. But this cycle only lasts until the morning of March 16th. Then, it’s time to stop working, even if everything isn’t quite perfect, because the judges are arriving to decide what figure deserves the main prizes.
It’s such a fun process to follow along — we would plan evening walks that would take us by some of the Fallas figures, to monitor how they were coming along. But we always made sure to avoid the biggest ones, before they were fully completed. We still like the surprise of seeing the final figures when they’re totally finished.