Monday, February 05, 2007
Fallas is almost upon us. The first Mascletà of the proceedings is at Nuevo Centro on Saturday 10 February to celebrate the opening of the exhibition of Ninots (papier Maché sculptures) for this year's fiesta. If you haven't experienced a mascletà it's worth a trip to the plaza in front of El Corte Ingles just befor the river on the cv35 to experience a tamer one before seeing the big ones in the Town Hall Square each day from the first of March.
But something curious, and smelling distinctly like EU Political Correctness reared its head over the weekend.
As of yesterday it is illegal for youngsters under 12 to purchase or let off fireworks in the streets. If you have ever been in a Valencia street (or a street in any village or town in this neck of the woods) during Fallas you will know that it is a bit like being in a war zone. Firecrackers and Pertados (bangers) going off all around you day and night. A lot are in the hands of children, who seem to have no fear and toss them all over the place, though rarely at people or animals. A good friend is a surgeon who works at one of the hospitals. I remember years ago, when we first arrived on these shores and were horrified at how young these kids were, asking him how the hospitals coped with what must be a huge amount of casualties. His response was that, actually, there are very few considering and went on to explain fireworks are so much part of the culture here that kids grow up with a certain respect for these loud bangers.
Many of the Casals (Fallas groups) are up in arms and have asked the Generalitat to lift the ban - we shall see.
I doubt we'll notice a difference in the noise levels though.
To read more on Fallas got to http://www.thisisvalencia.com/fallas-intro.html and keep revisiting as we tell you all about it over the next 3 weeks.