Every year an event called Las Fallas turns the city of Valencia into a madhouse. Despite being a rather local happening, as a stranger you would probably assume that the city is in a state of emergency during these days from the 15th until the 19th of March.
It's hard to count until ten without hearing a fire-cracker go up somewhere, while traditional ceremonies and brass band marches disrupt even the slightest attempt of having a short siesta during the day.
The Fallas originated from an old carpenter tradition of burning pieces of furniture in the streets that were no longer needed when spring arrived. Over time, this tradition evolved into into a celebration that coincided with the day of the patron saint of carpenters. The progressively more elaborate monuments that were designed and painted in advance are burned down on the last day of the event, which literally puts the whole city on fire.
The symbolic meaning
With the arrival of the spring season, the tradition not only involves physically burning down no longer needed belongings in a bonfire, but also stands as a symbol for leaving one's burdens, pains and former troubles behind.
We should all be doing that, no?
Yes, and although I'm not the biggest fan of Las Fallas itself (I personally find it a bit too excessive), I value its symbolic and historical meaning. The collective ceremony to burn down spare belongings, accompanied by a lot of celebrations to greet the beginning of a new season is a ritual that inspired me to do the same.
Do a relentless house cleaning
Look for and choose any tools, items, folders and other goods in your house or workspace that you don't need anymore. You can even apply this to particular thoughts that have been bothering you in the past, or problems that you just want to get rid of. By writing them down on a piece of paper you can actually achieve the same effect as if you are throwing away a physical object.
Get rid of these things to make space for new ideas and tools. Those things might have been there for long enough, nagging your mind constantly with the question: What am I gonna do with this? Maybe the time has come to say goodbye and make space for something more inspiring.
After relieving yourself from the old, no longer needed physical stuff, memories and emotional baggage, celebrate that act accordingly when you are done and reward yourself with some pleasure activities. By having lightened your load, you are going to feel significantly more happy, organized and with a clear head when you are getting back to business.
Personally, I did a pretty excessive spring cleaning. Besides cleaning the house, I got rid of some old junk that I hadn't touched in ages but didn't really know what to do with. Rewards? Yes, During the Fallas days, there are plenty of ways to reward oneself, such as with the delicious Churros (piped biscuits), Buñuelos (a typical Valencia type of doughnut) or with a gool ol' Mojito, which you can get at every street corner during these days... Some minor craziness is inevitable!
Apart from the traditional ceremonies, Las Fallas are historically considered the beginning of a good weather period, and temperatures haven't dropped below the 20° mark since then. Is there any better way to leave the winter months behind?