Hold your ears for this antique firework called Engraellat. Valencia has never been lacking ideas on different ways to ignite gunpowder. If you’re a longtime reader of our blog, you’ll know that the city is an epic center of fireworks. And we love them! Until moving here, we didn’t realize that there were so many different types — most people assume “fireworks” are “fireworks”. Colorful explosions in the sky, and that’s that. But oh no, my friend, there’s a whole world. Allow us to introduce you to the Engraellat: an old-fashioned mascletà.
Engraellat Fireworks Comeback
The earliest recorded appearance of the Engraellat was in an 1885 painting from by Salvador Constantino Gómez, in which you can see the metal cartridges set up in the street. For this type of firework, gunpowder is filled inside heavy metal cylinders, which look like weights, and then set off either manually by the pyrotechnicians or by a connection to a traca (another firecracker unique to Valencia).
By the 20th century, with the introduction of industrial paper, the Engraellat fell out of fashion. Pyrotechnicians were able to easily wrap the gunpowder in heavy paper, making the entire process much easier and safer — with the reduction of weight, they were able to hang the fireworks above the ground. But the heavy metal cylinders have positive aspects as well; they are reusable, and the explosions they generate really shake the ground.
The first time we saw one of these antique fireworks was in 2009 when we had just moved to Valencia. At that time, we were completely confused that this was an “event” that people enjoyed, and decided that Valencians must be insane. But fast-forward twelve years, and we’ve gone insane as well! We’ve come to appreciate the differences between different types of mascletàs, and on the rare occasions that an Engraellet is announced, we’ll try and attend. This year, we heard about one in the Ciutat Fallera, and biked over just in time to see, hear, and feel the explosions. Check out our pictures and video… and if you think we’re crazy for enjoying this, we understand!