The Noise!

Mascletá

A Mascletá (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Have I mentioned the explosions? Big ones, little ones, distant ones, heart-stoppingly near ones. The Mascletá, a series of explosions that begins at 2 pm every day in the weeks leading up to March 19th, has been described as a symphony in gunpowder. It is an essential element of the celebration of Las Fallas. The largest thundering occurs in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in the center of town, but at its heart this is a neighborhood celebration, and so the bangs and booms blast from every direction around the city.

In the past I have thought of fireworks as mostly a visual thing, but these pyrotechnics are all about the noise, and it’s a whole different art form. It’s quite remarkable, and much more interesting than I would have predicted. Having said that, I’m probably best able to appreciate this sort of performance from a distance–anyone in my family can tell you that my startle reflex is perhaps too well developed. So far I’ve been doing pretty well; I do admit to flinching, but I’ve yet to shriek in alarm, and I haven’t fallen down once.

In honor of both the organized Mascletá and the spontaneous cacophony surrounding us, I’ve written a stanza that takes as its inspiration a certain section of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas:

For Las Fallas, she learned, featured bright lights and toys,
And flaming things thrown by young girls and young boys,
And many more sources of noise, noise, noise, noise!
That’s one thing that startled her, NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

cracker

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