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The Fallas Tradition

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

Teran Conde Paris designs sustainable clothing, for a purposeful fashion. In this spirit Esperanza, the designer of the brand, has conceived the Lolita jacket and Lola skirt choosing to use dormant fabric stocks from the Fallas for ethical consumerism. Let us tell you a little bit about the story of this joyful Spanish tradition!

History of the Fallas fabric in Valencia

In the heart of the Mediterranean sea, the Spanish coast shows an abundance of fiestas and traditions, each more beautiful than the last.

The Fallas fabric draws its origins from the beautiful city of Valencia, where the Túria river joins the Mediterranean sea. On the western side of the Mediterranean, Valencia faces the Baleares islands. Among other things, the city is renowned for its City of Arts and Sciences, a futuristic ensemble of buildings, its beaches, and the nearby park of Albufera. The city of Valencia also holds a tight link to its traditions with several festivals and celebrations throughout the year. One of the most famous is probably Las Fallas.

Las Fallas in Valencia

Among the many festivals the city holds, Las Fallas of Valencia is the one to remember! Indeed, Las Fallas is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular festivals in the city of Valencia. This carnival welcomes the Spring season with a loud, smoky, high-spirited fiesta where flickering flames dance in the city streets for 5 days in March.

Regarding the origins of this tradition, the most popular version says that Las Fallas began during the Middle Ages. It was a ritual held by Valencian carpenters. Also known as la Fiesta de San José, this ritual was celebrated on the day before St. Joseph’s Day (March 19), who is the patron saint of carpenters. The carpenters would burn old wood pieces that were used to elevate oil lamps during the Winter, called parots. Throughout the years, old objects and rags were added to this purifying fire, and with a touch of Valencian humor, the parots soon became handmade ninots, giant cardboard dolls holding a satiric note. Nowadays, participants parade with ninots that characterize more as ephemeral art pieces, sometimes with tremendous budgets!

As always, the festival ends with La Cremà, a spectacular show with fire and gunpowder, where the dolls are burnt to ashes. The Fallas celebration in Valencia combines tradition, satire, and crafts. The city of Valencia holds delightful fireworks, full of color and joy!

The Las Fallas of Valencia feature amongst UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It is the least to say that Valencians are proud to have perpetrated this world-renowned celebration!

The traditional Fallera costume

As of now, you may wonder where the festival and the fabric meet… Well, one important part of the Fallas festival is the Falleras and Falleros.

The Falleras and Fallers are Valencian inhabitants who represent their neighborhood during the Fallas festival. It is a very serious tradition, some families have passed along the Fallera tradition from parent to child for decades! Falleros have a traditional dark and sleek costume, whereas the Falleras shine with color and embroideries.

Every year, two new Fallera Mayores are chosen for each district, one adult woman and one girl, and publicly presented to the city. The previous Fallera Mayores accompany the new ones to this ceremony. As a Fallera, women, and girls must perpetuate the tradition and wear the traditional handmade gowns. A Fayera Mayor could be qualified as a queen or president of her neighborhood for the year, as she attends every event connected to the Fallas.

The dresses are composed of two main parts, the falda -the skirt- and the corpiño - the corset. The falda is made from this typical silk fabric.

Historically, the traditional Fallera costume is inspired by the peasant gowns who worked in the rice paddies nearby Valencia. As the style evolves over the years, the fabric remains the same: only the colors and patterns change.

As a matter of fact, Falleras also wear quite a noticeable hairstyle, made of three moños. These flat kinked buns are placed over the ears and the third one is placed on the back of the head. Rumors say that moños may have inspired George Lucas for Princess Leia’s hairstyle in Star Wars!

Read more about the Fallas fabric and Teran Conde Paris in out next post!


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