Dragons, politicians go up in flames in Spain's fiery festival

VALENCIA, Spain (Reuters) - Valencia's Las Fallas festival lit up on the early hours of Wednesday the Mediterranean sky with fireworks and flames from blazing sculptures of all shapes and sizes - beautiful amazons, fairytale dragons and cartoonish effigies of politicians such as U.S. President Donald Trump

Reuters March 20, 2019 07:07:27 IST
Dragons, politicians go up in flames in Spain's fiery festival

Dragons politicians go up in flames in Spains fiery festival

VALENCIA, Spain (Reuters) - Valencia's Las Fallas festival lit up on the early hours of Wednesday the Mediterranean sky with fireworks and flames from blazing sculptures of all shapes and sizes - beautiful amazons, fairytale dragons and cartoonish effigies of politicians such as U.S. President Donald Trump.

The festival, during which hundreds of intricate 'ninots', the Valencian name for papier-mâché dolls, are brought into the streets and then burned on the last day, is a centuries-old tradition honouring St Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.

The themed dolls and doll sets, some as big as a four-story building, are made by groups of artisans and cost hundreds of thousands of euros to produce. In 2016 UNESCO, recognised Las Fallas as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The themes vary from musicals and magic to hot social and political issues, with the current edition featuring women's rights, the global rise of populism and the far right or Catalonia's bid to gain independence from Spain.

In one ensemble, a sculpture of Trump wearing nothing but a cowboy hat appeared alongside equally naked Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Spain's former dictator, Francisco Franco.

The divisive planned removal of Franco's body from a state mausoleum also merited comic references. Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was pictured as a prince waking "Sleeping Beauty" Franco from his tomb.

In another, a grinning Sanchez flies a government jet in an allusion to allegations that he used one for private trips.

Each year, members of the public vote on their favourite sculptures to save the best two from the final bonfire called "Cremà".

The festival is believed to have originated from pagan rituals marking the end of winter.

(Reporting by Elena Rodriguez,; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.