Monday, September 20

Valencia ponders the future of the Fallas after the most unusual edition since the Civil War

The Fallas of Valencia, the most emblematic festival in the city, ended its most unusual edition after the suspension since the beginning of the coronavirus health crisis, when the empty streets of the city in full confinement continued to maintain the monuments in a striking image and typical of a film by Italian director Federico Fellini. The monument of ‘La Meditadora’, the gigantic figure of a woman in a pensive attitude that presided over the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and that had to be confined (with its inevitable added mask), has finally burned.

The cream It has been held in a square without events such as mascletades to avoid crowds. Much less crowded than in the years before the pandemic and with a moderate influx of tourists, most still on the beach, the unique celebration has served to reactivate the Fallas festival and the economic subsectors diminished by paralysis (pyrotechnics, clothing, Fallas artists and other traditionally associated businesses). Also to restaurants and hotels.

Parades and parades have been held without public, the mascletades and fireworks castles have been relocated to avoid large congregations of spectators, there have been no festivals and the schedules of the cream. The consumption of alcohol, consubstantial to the always scant night and day jarana fallera, has been limited this year to the hours of sunshine. And with a moderation worthy of the “co-responsibility” that President Ximo Puig asked the Valencians.

Thus, this September 5 has virtually become March 19, the day of the cream under normal epidemiological conditions. With less noise and a more moderate public attendance, the Fallas of 2021 have also been those of 2020, in an interruption that has not been experienced since the Civil War.

With a Central Board Fallera, authentic shadow government of the city during each month of March, lessened by the inevitable sanitary restrictions, what has not changed has been the hegemony of the first division fallas (the Jerusalem-Mathematical Marzal Convent commission has won in the Special Section both in the monuments large as in the child falla) and the columns of smoke that have decorated the city during the cream. Neither are the inevitable blocked streets that this Monday return to normal.

In general, the sanitary measures have been complied with (especially the curfew and the obligation to wear a mask in the crowds), there have been no major bottle problems and the Valencian Government plans to convene an interdepartmental commission this week to lift the restrictions. The president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, intends to arrive on October 9, leading an “immunized community”.

It is also the first celebration of a mass party when the new variants of the coronavirus still threaten the happy conclusion of the vaccination process. Epidemiological data for the coming weeks will confirm whether it was a good idea or not to celebrate the Fallas at the turn of the summer.

On the rebound, the exceptional measures taken this year, such as the decentralization of mascletades and castles, can serve as a model for future editions. The mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, has been in favor of continuing with the decentralization of events, “a good option that ultimately brings the Fallas closer to the districts and neighborhoods of Valencia,” he told Europa Press.

Act of masses par excellence, the Fallas festival seeks to adapt to pandemic times. ‘La Meditadora’, said Mayor Joan Ribó, “can be a good symbol to tell all the people that they have to be aware of pandemics”.

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