Archive for the ‘mascletá’ tag

Carnaval and the Start of Fallas

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Exams have been and gone, I’ve recovered and become angered by The System, and the Poly is taken over by election fever.  Actually, it isn’t, but the candidates like to think it is, what with electoral debates on UPV TV and all.  One is promising laptops for all and has such a swish election campaign all it achieves is to look tacky.  They’ve both gone web 2.0 with blogs and YouTube clips and twitter and things.  To me it all seems a bit silly, so I’ll leave that topic there.

Currently I’m amused by a sentence on a BBC News story I read today, about the debate over the collapse of bee colonies:

It is believed these chemicals can act like alcohol on humans, disorienting the bees and causing them to get lost on the way home.

So is this implying that all humans get lost on the way home after chugging a pint?

The other amusement is coming from Spanish president of the government, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. He let slip in a televised statement that there now is, between Spain and Russia, an agreement to “stimulate, to assist, to fuck… to support Russian tourism”. Ooopsie daisy. It’s clear he realises what word has just come out of his mouth, but can you imagine being in that position? Dear oh dear.

The end of February kickstarted the season of celebrations, with Carnaval.  For those in GB that don’t know what it is, here is an article on Wikipedia.  Here in Valencia, it’s taken as an excuse for yet more partying, but this one is unofficial.  Apparently the Carnaval parade in my barrio was stopped by the police, who hosed them down and shot rubber bullets.  Here is a video on YouTube showing the dissolution into trouble. Either way, it was an excuse to dress up in disfraz and to get reduced entry to clubs for the effort.

Before any of the troubles, I managed to capture a video of one part of the parade in Benimaclet, with the human tower troupe.  (In my visit to Taragona there was a museum about it as they say they have the best ones there.)  Basically, people clamber on top of each other in an organised fashion to make this tower.  Check out the YouTube video below (or this link if you’re reading from Facebook and it doesn’t come up).

The first day of March heralded the start of Fallas, Valencia’s very own unique festival which lasts until the 19th of the month.  I’m not sure I can effectively describe it, so here’s yet another pointer to Wikipedia.  Or you can be patient, and as things happen and I take photos or videos and upload them here.

Meanwhile, below you can find are a selection of photos of the Mascletà in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.  As I described way back in October, a mascletà is essentially a fireworks display but for the sound rather than the visual effects.  It’s five minutes of eardrum-popping body-shaking explosions and lots of smoke.

During the festival, one takes place each day at 2pm prompt, the plaza filled with people and the fallas girls (there must be a name for them) standing on a balcony of the Ayuntamiento with their traditional costume.  Bizarrely, it is also relayed live by the local television and radio stations.

The Fallas girls.  Notice it is before the mascletà, before the smoke.

The Fallas girls. Notice it is before the mascletà, before the smoke.

It begins...

It begins.

 

Now you see it (just about)...

Now you see it (just about)...

...now you don't.

...now you don't.

 

Little puffs of smoke in the sky; sparks and flashes in the plaza.

Little puffs of smoke in the sky; sparks and flashes in the plaza.

 

And it's over...for today.

And it's over...for today.

Looking the other way down a street from the plaza.

Looking the other way down a street from the plaza.

 

Oh, and finally one last photo I’d been meaning to get for ages (actually, thanks go to Samuel for taking the photo). Since the day I twigged what it sounds like when said in English, I can’t now not see it like that. I’ll leave it there on that note.

 

Colon Fluid.  Nothing more need be said.

Colon Fluid. Nothing more need be said.

Written by Benjamin

March 5th, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Links

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If for some reason the video links didn’t come out properly for the last post, here they are again.

Written by Benjamin

November 1st, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Festivities, Valencia

Tagged with , ,

Mascletá en Benimaclet

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Hola a tod@s.  For fear of beginning to sound like a broken record, I will yet again mention the fireworks and firecrackers that the Valencians seem to love so much.  To my surprise, the other evening there was a procession through the streets of Benimaclet, replete with priests, a figure being carried, candle bearers and a brass band.

Procession in Benimaclet

Procession in Benimaclet

A close-up of the shrine or whatever it is, I couldn't really make it out!

If that wasn’t surprising enough, after the procession had done it’s rounds of the streets, it turned up in the park by which I live.  And then the noises, flashes and bangs kicked off once again.  There was about ten minutes of normal fireworks, as seen here:

No smoke without fire

No smoke without fire

Excitingly, I have gone interactive, and you can even watch a video of the mascletá, taken from my balcony. Try to imagine that the noise was so great the ears hurt.  Not just discomfort, I’m talking pain.  The advice is to keep your mouth open.  Not just in awe of the spectacle, but to stop the eardrums rupturing.


Link to the mascletá video

Now something without fireworks, but still with noise.  Last weekend, Valencia hosted the MotoGP so there was a bit of excitement in the city.  Thanks to my flatmate, I got hold of some of the free tickets to a concert hosted by TVE, Spains’s national public broadcaster.  It was pretty good fun, if a bit cold on the hard stone seats of the Plaza de Toros (bullring), and the music was a little dubious too.

TVE MotoGP concert in Valencia Plaza de Toros

TVE MotoGP concert in Valencia Plaza de Toros

I insist you check out this recording of Ragdog, one of the bands playing at the concert, to hear how bad they were.  Another was Amaral, who were an improvement, and here is a video of them at the concert too.

TVE MotoGP concert in Valencia Plaza de Toros

Lots of people

The presenting (it was being recorded for tv) was a bit shambolic too, but overall it was worth seeing…after all, the tickets were free :)

Link to the procession video

Written by Benjamin

October 31st, 2008 at 10:38 pm