Valencia Town Hall in Plaza del Ayuntamiento wrapped in smoke during the Mascletá | Ana Escobar


Yet another famous Spanish event has fallen foul of the coronavirus.

The Fallas Festival in Valencia which was due to take place between March 15-19 has been postponed and the Festival of the Magdalena in Castellón has also been cancelled.

"It is a matter of minimising the element of risk for contagion by human agglomerations and mass displacements of people from more affected areas,” said the President of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig.

Mr Puig said that it was a very difficult decision to make but that the health of the Valencian people must come first.

“A new date will be set for the Fallas when the health situation improves and we hope it will be soon,” he said. “Our priority is to protect Valencians especially the most vulnerable.”

The containment action means that holidays in Valencia, Castellón and numerous municipalities of the Valencian Community have also been cancelled.

Mr Puig said that the Valencia Public Health System is prepared to meet the needs of the people and called for responsibility and prudence and urged people to avoid spreading fear and alarm.

The roots of Valencia's Fallas Festival run way back to the 18th century. Saint Joseph is the Patron Saint of Valencia and it was traditional for carpenters to burn their rubbish and old bits of wood on the day before Saint Joseph’s day, March 19.

Over the years, rags and other stuff was added to the pyre and some people started making effigies which became more ironic and much more artistic every year.

Now people spend a fortune and a whole year making incredibly artistic pieces from papier-mâché and wood and most of them are huge.

On the last day of the Fallas all the sculptures are burned to the ground.