El Cant de l’Estoreta
Among the first events on the Fallas program is the Cant de l’Estoreta, when the history of the festival is presented to the public. But whom should be entrusted with so solemn a task? Why, little kids, of course!
On the first Sunday morning of Fallas, a never-ending squadron of babies and kids are placed into position along Calle Roteros, leading from the Torres de Serrano to the Plaza del Carmen. Stressed-out parents have spent days preparing the costumes and the floats, each dedicated to a different facet of Fallas, like the “Buñolera” or the “Pirotecnica,” and the grandmothers of Valencia have shown up early to reserve front-row seats for the hours-long spectacle of cuteness.
“Cant de l’Estoreta” means “Song of the Carpet,” referring to the way in which Valencians used to pile old furniture and wood atop carpets, and then drag the whole lot to the bonfires of Fallas. That is the tradition being re-enacted by this parade — the children of each casal have a float and a theme, as well as a carpet full of wood which they drag behind them.
One by one, each group marches into the Plaza de Carmen, provides a short speech that covers an aspect of Fallas history, and presents their float to the Court of Falleras Infantiles and a panel of judges. (Sorry, kids: not even you can escape Fallas’ mania for turning everything into a competition.)
But of course, the only real winner of the Cant de l’Estoreta is Grandma. Well, Grandma and anyone else who likes seeing darling little children stuffed into darling little costumes, and compelled to put on darling little performances. Which probably includes everyone… It would take a miserable heart not to enjoy this event.