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Cruising on Seren Mor
UK Snow
Cathy
23/03/2013, Jávea

I was alarmed to see my home town featured on the BBC news as the location they were reporting from for the latest snow chaos. Today Alex sent me some pictures.

The Big Burning
Cathy
20/03/2013, Jávea

Even Later Thursday Night

Sometime after midnight the first of the main fallas is set alight. This is really something to put on your bucket list - perhaps near the end because a certain amount of risk to life and limb is involved. I'd been more than a little relieved to see the fire brigade arrive at the burning of the smaller children's falla. Now they were the stars.

We'd watched the setting up of the explosives. The hacking of holes into the rather saucy sculptures was entertaining in its own right. By now the members of the falla district had obviously had a little tipple and the band was getting everybody dancing around the towering wounded beast that the carving had become.

Again the arrival of the Bombers (firemen) was the signal that things were about to get started. Once they'd set up their hoses, the Queen did her stuff. This time the whole edifice exploded into an inferno. The heat on the side we were standing forced the spectators back more effectively than any fence pushing. Immediately the hoses were trained onto the burning edifice to gain control. The plastic signs close by needed a good soaking to stop them melting and the nearest buildings, their balconies now empty of the pyjama-clad occupants, were dramatically deluged in an effort to save them.

No, nothing had gone wrong. This is how it was supposed to be. Six more to go.

La Cremà
Cathy
19/03/2013, Jávea

Thursday Night

According to the program the burning of the children's fallas starts at around 9.30pm. When they say "start" this isn't when the first one actually bursts into flames, oh no. This is when they hack holes into the sculptures, lay the explosives and surround them with fireworks. Of course, the crowd has already gathered by then and trying to push them back to a safe distance is almost impossible. Every committee member has to have a dig at the statue and a push at a railing. The actual incendiary guys get more and more frustrated as interfering bigwigs trample their fuses and generally think they know better.

Finally the police and fire brigade arrive and something approaching order and a safe distance is achieved. Some 90 minutes later than advertised the local Queen ignites the first fuse and to a cacophony of bangs and sparks from the fireworks, somewhere inside the falla something bursts into flames. Except on the one we were watching it didn't. It just sort of smoked and smouldered. A few glasses of gasoline thrown onto the embers sorted that out!

Cutie Alert
Cathy
19/03/2013, Jávea

More dignified...

Cutie Chaos
Cathy
19/03/2013, Jávea

The parade is a solemn affair but where children are involved ...

Denia Fallas
Cathy
19/03/2013, Jávea

Thursday

The festival of Saint Joseph (San Jose) is marked in the Valencia region with the burning of Fallas. We'd ventured over the hill to Denia last year to see the spectacle but the event had been a total washout (see 03/19/2012 "Washout" in contents list). This year, after studying the forecast as eagerly as for any overnighter, we booked a hotel in the old town so we could actually see 'La Cremà' when the huge sculptures are set alight.

The morning is about the religious side of the day, a mass and a solemn parade to present flowers outside the church to create the gown of the Madonna. Marching bands lead the parade followed by gorgeously clad members of each distinct district of Denia. They start them young. The Queen herself is supposed to be the most beautiful, presenting her flowers to the Virgin with tears in her eyes.

Come the afternoon, the partying starts. Many remain in their ornate costumes or in the colours of their particular fallas area, while visitors fill the pavement cafes and the youngsters run around exploding firecrackers and more alarming fireworks. This is where it starts to become obvious why such an event could never take place in the UK. Of course, each year would probably be a washout but 'Health and Safety' would have a blue fit.

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Seren Mor
Who: Cathy and Neil Lamputt
Port: Plymouth
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