A thundering, electrifying parade of popping firecrackers and upbeat marching band music. This is how Valencia wakes up during Fallas.

Fallas is known to be a loud, explosive festival, and the Despertà is there to remind you of this as the final days of the festival approach. In fact, the whole point of the Despertà is to announce that Fallas season has come and to keep the festive spirit high.

The Despertà, which we can translate as the “wake-up call”, is the tradition of waking Valencia up by making as much noise as possible. The falleros and falleras (both children and adult) achieve this by setting off extremely loud firecrackers every morning just after sunrise, as they parade in the streets. This makes the event one of the most beloved traditions - by those who partake in it - and one of the most despised - by those who are only witness to it.

Despertá on the streets of Valencia during Fallas
On the days of the Despertá dozens of falleros and falleras walk the streets of Valencia setting off loud firecrackers.

The Despertà is celebrated on two occasions. One is to announce the arrival of the Fallas, at the end of February. The other one, between the 16th and the 19th of March, is to remind Valencia that the final, most intense days of the festival have come.

This tradition contributes to that undefinable atmosphere of excitement and expectation that permeates Valencia during Fallas. In the pale light of the morning, as the early spring air is still chilly and crisp, falleras and falleros parade together in a joyful act. Their collective laughter and excitement as the firecrackers explode are contagious. The onlookers cannot help but feel a sense of trepidation for the collaborative act that is Fallas.

If you’d like to know more about other festival events and when they are programmed for, you can check out our Fallas calendar article.

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