From the smell of gunpowder in the air and the booming, crackling sound of firecrackers, one might think they were near some sort of war zone, but to residents in Valencia, Spain those are simply the sights and sounds that let them know festival season has arrived.
The famous “Fallas” is the town’s most awaited annual festival, during which the raucous Mascletá celebration happens every day from the beginning of March until the end of the festivals on the 19th of the month. All day, strings of thrillingly and abnormally large firecrackers can be found hanging in town square, waiting for a celebration that is yet to come.
But wait! It gets better. At 2pm sharp each day, one can gather alongside throngs of over onlookers and party-goers in the main square, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, to enjoy the energetic sound of the petardos, the lighting of hundreds of firecrackers in all of their cadenced rhythm and glory. Fireworks artists are allowed to use a maximum of half a metric tonne of black powder to compete for the best show.
The act represents the culmination of these festive days, giving everyone in attendance a great show of pyrotechnical work, as well as generous hearing loss (warning: ear plugs are definitely advised).
So if you happen to be walking the streets of Valencia in the springtime and hear shots ring out, no need to hit the deck. It’s just the Mascletá.