Child holding a box with firecrackers - Fallas Valencia
Despertà

Firecrackers

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The defining feature of the Despertà is the noise in the streets, produced mostly by the firecrackers and - to a lesser extent - by the marching bands. As you probably already know, Valencians are great lovers of all kinds of pyrotechnics. The louder and more sensational, the better. Here are the different kinds you’ll hear being used in the streets during a Despertà.

Man lighting a firecracker during Despertá - Fallas Valencia
Firecrackers used during the Despertá are extremely loud. Some of them need to be lit, others just thrown to the ground.

Tro de Bac

Tro de bac is the name of the firecracker typically used during the Despertà by adult falleros and falleras. It is a hand-made and extremely loud device that has no wick. Instead, to set it off, one must throw it against the ground forcefully. These are the kinds of firecrackers you don’t want to get too close to when they explode.

It is said that the origin of the tro de bac is related to Valencia’s stonemasons. The workers used explosive devices and gunpowder products to break large blocks of stone. Over time, the leftovers from these activities started being used recreationally. These primitive trons de bac were especially enjoyed by the younger members of the community.

It so became a tradition to set off these devices in the early hours of a festive day, around dawn, to wake the city up for the celebration. The first recorded commercial trons de bac in Valencia were sold in 1902-1903 in small boxes.

Around the 2010s, trons de bac came close to disappearing because of the strict EU laws that regulated their use and production. However, local interest kept the tradition afloat, and nowadays the production seems to be increasing again. The firecrackers are still produced locally and only according to demand. To purchase them, you have to get a special license called Curso CRE, which requires attending a course and passing an exam.

Bombetas

For the Despertà Infantil, smaller firecrackers - bombetas - are normally used. They are the smallest type of firecrackers, like Pop Its or Party Snaps.

Child with box full of firecrackers- Fallas Valencia
It is customary for falleras and falleros to keep their firecrackers in wooden boxes that they can walk around with.

Bombetas belong to a class of pyrotechnic devices allowed to kids as young as 8 years of age. However, Valencian passion for firecrackers starts early, and it is not uncommon, under Fallas, to see children of even 3 years of age set bombetas off.


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Introduction
Firecrackers