A festival of fire that can trace its origins to pagan times, this riot of noise and colour is one of Spain's most spectacular fiestas.
Las Fallas is dedicated to St Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, and started as a springtime custom of burning the waste from the woodworker's workshops. In time the waste materials were used to fashions mischievous caricatures of local characters, and the tradition of the Las Falls figures was born.
Throughout the year, Valencians fashion these extraordinary papier-mâché figures, which are paraded through the streets during Las Fallas week, and - on the last day - burnt on immense fires, accompanied by spectacular fireworks.
Today the Las Fallas figures are frequently caricatures of politicians and celebrities. Throughout the week leading up to the final extravaganza they are paraded through the streets to the accompaniment of fireworks, firecrackers and music. The centre of the city becomes a beautifully illuminated pedestrian precinct and the locals never seem to sleep.