No estoy aquí (I am not here)
YOU ARE HERE: Valencia, Spain
Since the Middle Ages, Valencia celebrates St. Joseph’s Day by burning the old to make way for the new as a passage into Spring. This week-long festival is known as las Fallas. The Despertà awakens the city at 8am with drums and brass bands parading through the streets. Children hurl M80s at each other with minimal parental supervision. At 2pm, a Mascletà of deafening fireworks takes place in the central plaza of the city. Each Mascletà grows longer and louder in preparation for the final day. Over 500 sculptures of polystyrene and cork are constructed by each neighborhood. Each ‘falla’ is designed around a theme, usually satirical, and can reach 30 meters in height. The installment of the fallas throughout the street corners of the city is the Plantà. L’Ofrenda is a peaceful procession in which Valencian women dressed in elaborate, traditional gowns bring flowers to dress a giant wooden Virgin Mary in the historic Plaza de la Virgen. On the last night of Fallas, spectacular fireworks displays occur throughout the city, filling the humid air with smoke and chaos. At midnight, the city sets itself aflame during the Cremà. Hundreds of magnificent fallas transform into piles of burning waste within minutes as drunken spectators cheer on the merciless flames. The next morning, all of the evidence is gone.
This is my story of las Fallas, chronicling an unlikely relationship that emerged, flourished, and was ultimately extinguished like the magnificent fallas.
This book is available for purchase at my Etsy store for $20. Limited edition, signed.