The celebration of Fallas de Valencia

In the middle of the Mediterranean coast, Valencia city, celebrates each year the final days of the winter and the arrival of spring with spectacular fires and pyrotechnics. From March 15 to 19 (the feast of Saint Joseph, day of the father in the whole country), Valencia is given over to a carnival of bonfires, fiesta, fireworks and a healthy dose of satire known as Las Fallas, the fires.

The Fallаs is a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph in the city of Valencia, in Spain. The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments created during the celebration. A number of towns in the Valencian Community have similar celebrations inspired by the original one in Valencia.

Las Fallas de Valencia

The Falles started in the Middle Ages, when artisans disposed of the broken artifacts and pieces of wood they saved during the winter by burning them to celebrate the spring equinox. Valencian carpenters used planks of wood called parots to hang their candles on during the winter, as these were needed to provide light for the carpenters to work by. With the coming of the spring, they were no longer necessary, so they were burned. Over time, and with the intervention of the Church, the date of the burning of these parots was made to coincide with the celebration of the festival of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters.

Although the main part of the fiesta lasts for 6 days, preparation takes many months. For example for this year festival the head of Leonardo Da Vinci, weighing 7 tons, is being assembled. People begin to create enormous statues long months before the festival. The committee of Fallas must prepare every area of the city far the festival.

The five days and nights of Falles are a continuous party. There are a multitude of processions: historical, religious, and comedic. Crowds in the restaurants spill out into the streets. Explosions can be heard all day long and sporadically through the night. Foreigners may be surprised to see everyone from small children to elderly gentlemen throwing fireworks and noisemakers in the streets, which are littered with pyrotechnical debris. The timing of the events is fixed and they fall on the same date every year, though there has been discussion about holding some events on the weekend preceding the Falles, to take greater advantage of the tourist potential of the festival or changing the end date in years where it is due to occur in midweek.

Ladies are dressed in elaborate traditional costumes with full skirts of brocade, lacy aprons and mantillas, ribbons, sashes and jewels. Their hair, strictly parted in the middle, is coiled into braids over each ear, fastened with golden pins and combs. Every lady carries a bouquet of carnations.

Renowned artists, painters, and sculptors take great part in designing and constructing the enormous fallas – some tower up to 30 meters high! At midnight on March 19 people set on fire all of these sculptures on fire and admire colourful flames, which fill the streets of Valencia.
The celebration of the festival ends on the 20th of March with the firework display.

Las Fallas attract more than 1mio tourists every year. If you want visit Valencia, you should come there during this festival. The impressions will stay with you forever.

A Little Guide to Australian Cuisine

Progression

Originally of course, traditional Australian fare was whatever indigenous foods were available to the Aborigines and then it with the arrival of the British; it perhaps lapsed into the traditional meat and two vegetable meals that were traditional to them. After the Second World War, with the influx of immigrants, first from northern Europe and later from the Mediterranean and Asia, what is considered traditional Australian food, once again changed as these immigrants brought with them nodiversity and tastes that up till then had been relatively unknown in Australia.
Over the years with the mixing of cultures and the blending of dishes, Australia can not be said to have only one traditional meal and has even re-vitalized old Aborigine favorites such as kangaroo and crocodile. Although it cannot be said that Australia has one traditional food, Australians have perhaps separated into two groups when it comes to their dietary preferences. There are the city dwellers and those that live in the country. In the cities and towns, especially the bigger ones, the nodiversity of the food matches the nodiversity of the cultures whilst in the countryside they are more restricted to “home grown” fare.

Urban Eating

Although eating out in the cities of Australia may not be as inexpensive as perhaps the UK or the States, Australians living in the cities tend to eat out on average three times a week, which means that there has to be a large number of cafes and restaurants to cater to this need. This of course means that with a large number of eating establishments, there is also a wide nodiversity in choices. It would appear that Asian restaurants are becoming a popular choice among these Australians with Vietnamese, Thai, Malay and Chinese restaurants becoming among the most popular.

Australian Cuisine

Country Eating

Although Chinese restaurants are starting to make an appearance throughout the country, there certainly is not an abundance of them at this time and so those Australians living in the countryside do not have much chance to eat out and certainly do not have many choices if they do. Traditionally in Australia, local hotels will sell meals at lunch time and the evenings but they do so between limited times and offer limited choice if any, often all hotels selling the one thing; steak, salad and chips. With such a limited choice to eat out, most Australians outside of the bigger towns cook for themselves but that has not stopped them from seeking nodiversity and they have returned to some of the traditional foods of the Aborigine.

Aboriginal Food

Although there is now an abundance of better known meats available in Australia, the Aboriginal foods would consist of meat from Kangaroo, Wallaby, Emu and Crocodiles. Other Aboriginal foods include Flathead fish, which although found in abundance have to be dealt with carefully as they have two poisonous spines on their backs and Witchetty grubs. Witchetty grubs are the larvae from Ghost Moths and were once collected in abundance for either eating raw or barbecued. Other grubs that are eaten are from the Bogong Moth which is served toasted.

These Aboriginal foods are now perhaps commonplace outside the cities but only some up-market restaurants in the city selling the meats and very few serving the grubs.

BBQ
When anybody thinks of Australia, they probably think of BBQ and they would be correct to do so as BBQs feature large in the Australian way of life. BBQs can be found throughout the country at beaches, parks and even some car parks, often free but sometimes coin operated. Although all Australians use BBQs, what they put on it can once again depend on where they live. If they live near the beach or coast they may BBQ shrimp or crab whilst those in the country may BBQ kangaroo or Emu. However, almost every Australian likes a BBQ but will usually cook the more world known favorites of steak, lamb, pork or chicken.

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruits are readily available in Australia both with perhaps traditional, well known ones like bananas, papaya, mangoes, pears and avocados which may not be locally grown but are in abundance anyway and more local ones like Tasmanian Cherries and Quandong fruit.

A good variety of vegetables are available in Australia whether they are from America, Europe or Asia, they are all there. In the countryside vegetarians may have a bit of a problem but if they do find a restaurant, most have at least one veggie dish available. In the cities though, it is a different matter. Vegetarian restaurants seem to have surprisingly become popular in this meat loving country and so there are now many available.

Although it may not be as cheap to eat out in Australia as what you are used to elsewhere, at least in the cities you will have as big a nodiversity of choices as you would at home and perhaps an even wider one. Outside of the cities the choices may not be so vast but could certainly be different with many options being unique to Australia, such as crocodile eggs or grubs.

The Environment of South Africa and Canada

South Africa Canada

South Africa’s environment is very vast, but well protected. You can enjoy the lush greenery of the mountains, the breath taking sea life, and animals on the reserves. Most land around the mountain is surrounded with tall yellow greenery. More than 200 mammals call South Africa their home. They are pleased to have food, shelter and water in their habitats. Volcanos ago filled the land with pondering lava. Soil indulged with this lava is a very good result to farming. South Africa is known for growth of sugar canes, wheat, corn and most vegetables. In the hot days and slightly cool nights South Africa’s climate ranges from a high of 51.7 degrees Celsius.

South Africa’s environment is beautiful but there are many problems with it too. Droughts on the coast cause major water damage. Lack of clean lake’s leave hundred’s striving for water. As there is more water in urban areas than rural areas people there must travel many km to collect water. Mainly water pollution is the only environmental concern.

To fix pollution problems the government banned marine dumping and tries to control the amount of ships going on water. As South Africa fixes there environmental issues, there is still a lot to be discovered.

Canada’s environment is nothing like South Africa’s environment but still has its own unique sides to beauty. Clean lakes and rivers are one of the biggest resources, so every home gets clean water for usage. Clean water in water dams travel through pipes and into houses. Lots of beautiful rocky and snowy mountains make great scenery out your window. The mountains also own a large amount of animals that move around depending on the season. Enormous dark forests surround these mountains and tall trees can grow for years in there making more shade for other plants. Warm winters and cool summers in Canada, the climate ranges from a low of 45.0 degrees Celsius. Some vegetables can grow in this weather which is mostly clouds and precipitation.

Sugar canes cannot grow in this kind of climate and so does most other fruit. The land is not flat so it is hard to walk long distances because of the hills that go up and down all the time. It is also dangerous for people who live close to snowy and rocky mountains. Even though is it is beautiful, avalanches can happen any time there is lots of snow on the top. Pollution is one of the main problems in Canada. There are more urban than rural areas so more and more people start to use cars to move around to places. Dumps on land are getting bigger so most garbage now is going into the ocean.

There are a lot of problems with the environment but Canada is trying all they can to fix them. If some fruit or veggies don’t grow locally, then they can import products from other countries like California that grows lots of different plantations. Most people now use different bins for different waste, so some things can be recycled, and some just have to go in the garbage. The government is trying to encourage people to walk more often, than to use cars most of the time, and I know some people who do that already.

With lots of precipitation, we have clean water to use, but that affects the climate and growth rate of fruits and veggies in our country, but we can get everything by importing food and other products with the help of other countries.