The Fallas in Valencia, Spain is an annual event which lasts three weeks with a history of at least 150 years.
Fireworks and Flames
Basically a montage of paper mache cartoon-like figures reaching maybe 15 metres, often lampooning politicians, will be positioned at many of the intersections of streets in the middle of the road. These are accompanied by very loud fireworks set off by the people at frequent intervals throughout the city until well after midnight.
At pre-arranged times, several times a day, officially organised ‘mascletas’, happen where many loud fireworks are set off at prearranged times. These are heard by hundreds of people in the streets as it’s not possible to see unless you waited two hours in the street. Late on the last Sunday all the mannequins are burnt. I have never seen so many people crammed together in good spirits and apart from predictable thefts and out of control fires there are very few incidents.
What is so interesting is the behaviour of the people. You can see the people, mainly young women in traditional dress giving flowers at the statue of the virgin, clearly honoured and clearly believing. People of all ages buy and set off loud fireworks in the middle of the pavement or road with complaints.
Teaching the Children
The children from the age of 8 go out with little wooden boxes full of fireworks and just set them off without incident in the middle of the street and have great fun. How? Because they are taught by their peers and parents how to do it. I set light to my first fireworks since I was 15.
Overcoming personal fears
The last time I lit a firework I was 12 years old. So I was very definitely out of my comfort zone when it came to lighting and holding live fireworks squirting into the air or knowing which ones to light and throw into the distance awaiting a loud bang.
Health and Safety
I hate to think what the health and safety mafia in UK or UAE or USA would think of this. Like with responsible drinking, the Spanish teach their children to do apparently dangerous things safely from an early age. Would that the world would follow.
Sunday night – the great burning – and its all over
By Sunday night it’s all over and by Monday morning all is cleared and you would get a hefty fine for setting off your fireworks past that Sunday midnight. The government, the local businesses and the people spend a lot of money on this. It brings international and local tourist money and builds community and maintains tradition. Well done Valencia and the Fallas. Benefits to Smart Coaching & Training is observing and taking part in cultural events
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In conjunction with Professional Speakers Association (Spain) , SCT’s David Rigby will be present at the TEDx Marbella Spain event on June 9 focussing on Entrepreneurs