Typical Canary costume

Origen the Typical Costume of La Orotava

The typical dress of La Orotava was created in the forties (40´s) of the XIX century. It was fabricated in Icod el Alto, because on the outskirts more looms, being the rest of the embroidery dress, thread work and madre in the Monteverde House. Nowadays it has been converted in a symbolic dress, not only in La Orotava and its area, if not also of all of the Island of Tenerife.

The dress of the Monteverde family was a different one of the time, as they choose to modify it, taking away some garments and adding others. Among them was eliminated the hood and headcart, and added the “remanga”, the apron and the buttoned boots and the transform the hat, the jerkin, the shirt, the skirt and the cape.

Traje familiar de la familia Monteverde

Familiar dress of the Monteverde Family

 

By consecuences of these changes, the new dress was more expensive and therefore, in reach of only the richer people of La Orotava. Given that the majority of the population used typical costumes more economical, resulted fundamental to return to make various changes in the dress, and then , was produced the boom and expansion of all of the modifications which had the dress from its beginings.

The typical costume of La Orotava is known commonly as “the red dress” being the tone most abundant and striking in itself, to differentiate it from the typical costume of Santa Cruz which is “the black dress”.

Garment of the Typical Costume of La Orotava

The garments that make up the original dress for women and girls are the following. They appear in order in which women or girls ought to place for its correct termination.

Detalle del delantal, la falda y justillo del Traje Típico de La Orotava

Details of the apron, the jerkin the skirtand of the typical dress of La orotava

  • Blouse. The blouse is white and og fine oolton. Although it can also be of linen but itt is a material more expensive because it is worked by hand. The blouse is trimmed with red ribbons in the neck, and in the sleeves, which have to be short above the elbows. It is important the thread work by han in the sleeves.
  • Underskirt. this skirt is of red colour and goes below the petticoat.
  • Petticoat. Is of a white colour and the bottom is strimmed with red ribbons and the strips are of crochet or embroidered.
  • Skirt. The skirt is coloured stripes with the bottom strimmed with yellow tape. It usually goes drawn up on the left side leaving the shite petticoat beneath to be seen. The cloth is of wool.
Detalle de la falda y las borlas del Trae típico de La Orotava

Details of the skirt and the tassels of the typical dress of La Orotava

  • Apron. Is white with thread work adornments in red and ribbons of the same colour. The strip has match the petticoat.
  • Tassels. Are woollen balls which are used to lift up the skirt. These are seven of different colours, one for each island of our Archipelago.
  • Jerkin. Is a form of top tight to the body over the blouse. Normally embroidered in colours with ears of corn, poppies and “caldos”. This top ajusts with some cords in the front.
  • Boots. The boots have to be of skin of a beige colour with some buttons on one side.
Maga vestida con el Traje Típico de La Orotava, detalle del sombrero, pañuelo y justillo

Maga dressed with the typical costome of La Orotava, details of the hat, headscarf and jerkin

  • Cape. The cape is worn on the right shoulder. This cape is of a green colour is finished trimmed with yellow tape.
  • Headscarf. The headscarf can be cotton or of satin. It is placed on the head and of a yellow colour.
  • Hat. it can be of Palm leaf (handicraft) or of straw (industrial).

 

In the Casa del Turista in front of the House of Balconies you can find the Boutique del mago, a newspace dedicated to the sale of typical costumes being artisan , made by hand by experts craftsmen  of the villa, like industrial which are much more economical.

To dress up in the typical costume in the best way to go to the traditional dance of Romeria. Consult our Romerias Guide so you dont miss it in you locality

The Fan, Handicraft, Fashion and Decoration

The fan, this useful instrument is to refresh yourself with, at the same time an elegant and decorative fashion complement, and could also be classifed as a product of craftsmanship seen its delicate process of fabrication.

Its origens are imprecise and lost. If we take into account the moment in which man discovered fire, in the prehistory, now revives the coals reverting the objects in way of the fan. Now documented, we have knowledge that fans were used by egyptions, babylonians, persians, greeks and romans, thanks to the appearance of this instrument in the artistic representations of these people.

Ilustración de Abanico por @catatrujillo

Ilustración de Abanico por @catatrujillo

In ancient Egypt fans were large, semicircular, of feathers and with a long handle. Its function was twofold: to give air and scare away insects. It was also an ornamental object an indicative of power. Some quotes from various literary classics are proof that Greeks and Romans used fans.

In Chinese tradition the fan is ancient, dating back to the time of Emperor Hsien Yuan (2697 BC.). Some authors claim that the earliest archaeological evidence dates back to s. VIII. C. for the fixed fan in China and s. IX (877 d. C.) for the folding fan in Japan.

In the West, during the Middle Ages, the fan or “flabelum” becomes part of the Christian liturgy, being used in the consecration to protect the Eucharist from insects and refresh the celebrant. In Europe we know the fan from the late XV century on originating, from China and Japan, brought by the Portuguese in their trade routes to the East.

Abanico artesanal de La Casa de Los Balcones

It quickly became popular and reached its present form in the s. XVII century, unfolding since the in an all fashion fad and inventiveness of the miniaturists who introduced thread work, reliefs, inlays and precious materials.

In the eighteenth century Eugenio Prost a French craftsman settled in Spain under the protection of the Count of Floridablanca, making it one of the largest producers of fans worldwide. That same century was founded the fanmabers guild and early nineteenth century was founded the Royal Factory of Fans.

Initially the fan was used by both female and male, young men carried small examples in their pickets However, its use became almost exclusively to  ladies at the beginning of the XX century, up to this day.

Abanico artesanal de La Casa de Los Balcones

Ladies apparently became so skilled in using this device inventing an entire “language of the fan“, which consisted of the position in which they placed the fan, or the way it was held to convey a type of message or another. Younger women often resorted to this “language” to communicate frequently with their suitors in dances and public places without their mothers noticing or other jealous companions of its correct behavior.

Nowadays, is found in Cadiz  the only school-workshop of fans in the world, but all the material, craftsmen and artists are located on the outskirts of Aldaya, a town situated next to Valencia.

In La Casa de Los Balcones we have a wide assortment of the best fans in various colors, with hand-painted drawings, with lace and of different sizes.

Sources:

The Palmero Cigar

Origen of the Palmero cigar

Since 1661 there are reports of growing tobacco in the Isla Bonita, being the first harvests in the National Park of La Caldera by 1730. Canarias was an obligatory stop for ships carrying goods to America, especially to the port of Havana.

Familia Palmera con las hojas de Tabaco - Foto de El Alisio
At that time many canaries left following the route opened by Christopher Columbus, up to the point that more than 120,000 inhabited the islands of the world the world’s largest producer of tobacco: Cuba.

They were granted a license to cultivate and produce it, and in the nineteenth century, these migrant families returned converted in tobacco masters, carrying between their luggage seeds of this plant that adapted easily to the fertility of our soils and the influence of the trade winds

Finca de Tabaco El Sitio, La Palma

Why is special the elaboracion of the Palmero cigar?

The supreme quality of pure palm, recognized worldwide, is because its production is full of simplicity, skill and ability accompanied by tradition, secrets and formulas whispered by ear from generation to generation.

The current seeds arrived from Cuba in the 40s of last century helping to subsist on their crop for many families during the post-war period. Women stood guard at night in the nursery and although the elaboration is predominantly male, women also knew the painstaking art of intermixing the best leaves, obtaining a larger production of cigars than the men.

Detalle del Puro Palmero en La Casa del Turista
It is essential to choose the most appropriate tobacco, it is not enough the quality of the tobacco it must be of exceptional quality. A league of tobacco-based best carefully selected and processed manually from beginning to end leaves artisanal experts believe. In this process it is as important the raw material as where it is stored, the rings…

Its coveted aroma gets to differentiate them from the Caribbean cigars, but to avoid being confused, the real cigars of La Palma carry an official seal of approval.

Puros palmeros en La Casa de Los Balcones

The Pleasure of a good smoker in your reach in The House of Balconies

Given the quality of the canaries cigars, tells the experts to be mouth to taste better, press them near to the ear to hear it crackle, light with a wooden match and above all, enjoy letting yourself be enveloped by the aroma engaging in a fruitful dialogue with the smoke.

In la Casa del Turista you can find the best cigars made with the palm technique.

Sources:

The Thread work

La Casa de Los Balcones is the true temple of the Canary threadwork, held true to tradition, pampering secular techniques with the aim to transmit to future generations in the developed workshops and where endures the name of Eladia Machado.

This master artisan in the decade of the 40s of last century had his workshop in the current Casa del Turista, at San Francisco de la Villa de La Orotava. From his master was born the current traditional dress (Traje de Mago), which origens dates back to the mid-nineteenth century to the Monteverde family

From the safe and expert hands of these artisans are born true works of art ranging from rich tablecloths, suitable for decorating important occasion’s centers of all measure ments available to any pocket.

The Rosetta and thread work craftsmanship are the two most commonly used in the Canary Islands. The first is an embroidery, consisting of unraveling a cloth/fabric tightly fastened to a wooden frame fabric while the rosette is to form patterns with threads that are crossed between pins placed on a small circular rag support.

Calando en el patio de la Casa de Los Balcones

Calando en el patio de la Casa de Los Balcones

From La Casa de Los Balcones we wish to share with our community centuries of history and tradition. So for this we gathered together our best craft work produced by our master jig. Below we summarize the different types of thread work, the techniques used and materials that are developed every day in our Craft Workshop.

The Art of Draft

In what consists the slow, painstaking and grueling task?

Once placed the canvas in the frame, and to the protection of the tautness, some yarns have been extracted; others that remain are grouped in different drawings.

Mantel calado a juego con sus servilletas

Mantel calado a juego con sus servilletas

Canarian Tablecloths

Téchniques

  • Thread work: Tied strands and filling empty spaces decorated with drawing.
  • Marking: Remove from the fabric as many strands as necessary for the implementation of stitch you want to perform a drawing in which alternates * holes and threads.
  • Espiguetas: continuous stitches knotting several strands bordering the drawing finishing of the fabric in contact which is in the interior with the open threadwork.
  • Past threads: Set of threads that are passed geometrically and that give support to the drawing you wish to carry out.
Detalle de una caladora – foto de Beatriz Chinea

Detail of thread work worker – Photo of Beatriz Chine

  • Randa: Consists is pulling out strands of the fabric in one direction, in which grouping and knotting the threads up and down in a zig zag forming diamonds in the center of the thread work.
  • loop: Finishing off of the outer edges formed by a line of closely spaced stitches that prevents that it escapes and the thread work unraveling.
  • Sardine Spikes: Crossing of stand in a figure of eight.
  • Puntillo: straight line formed by continuous knots.
Calado canario hecho por las artesanas de la Casa de Los Balcones

Calado canario hecho por las artesanas de la Casa de Los Balcones

The Wine Press

One element of European culture and a fundamental part of the Mediterranean diet is the wine, which arrived in the Canary Islands with the first Spanish settlers during the conquest.

Together with the first samples of wine brought by Castilians, begin to reach the island landscape wine press accompanied by wine cellars in form of stone, wood and tile constructions.

Los Muchachos, los RRPP de La Casa de Los Balcones en su Lagar
Recently, a team of researchers discovered the oldest winery found to date. They managed to identify a harvest of about 6,000 years old in southern Armenia. ‘This is the unit’s oldest wine production which has been discovered so far, with its press, its fermentation tanks and storage vessels. ”

Among the objects found included grape seed, remains of treated grapes, vine shoots and a clay vat apparently used for fermentation. ‘The winery would have contained a few liters of juice and crushed grapes, so it would presumable with the traditional technique of treading grapes barefoot.

Antiguo lagar de viga
In the Canary Islands, the most common and popular, becomes the beam press, example of simplicity and efficiency, qualities that converted in one of those picturesque old mechanisms that usefully have survived in a useful way until today.

The wine press consists of the building and mechanical parts. The building or construction regularly a rectangular building is covered by a gable roof, which houses the armored, made in ordinary masonry where is trod and pressed the grapes; Lagareta or tub where the juice is collected.

Lagar de La Casa de Los Balcones - La Orotava
The mechanical parts begin with the huge beam for pressing, of wood of  80 or 90 cm in diameter and between 12 to 15 metres long; and the Roman balance consisting of stone, spindle and hub.

  • The stone, of a conical shape, with little inclination, will be the force application on the lever.
  • The spindle is a great screw carved in wood approximately 3 metres long and a diameter of 20 centimetres which rests on the stone
  • The club is the nut where the spindle is screwed.

This forms the moving mechanism exerting with its weight the pressure of the device functioning thus with the principle at lever of the second type.

La Ventita de La Casa - 3er premio Concurso Fotográfico
At the Casa de los Balcones, in La Orotava, the end of the courtyard we can see a typical beamed wine press of the Canaries. Although it is in perfect condition, currently it is no longer it used for the harvest, but serves as storage for the finest wines and products of our land.

Come to taste the excellent wine production of the island. We wait for you!

Fuentes:

La Destiladera

The Destiladera was used in the Canary Islands as a natural filter for water. Still some houses continue to use this traditional technique for drinking nice clean and cool water.

Usually Mounted on a wooden furniture fastened at the top a natural porous stone, which is known as Pila. This volcanic stone is used as a filter, it is carved in a bowl-shaped and ranges between the density of gray lava and the porosity of the pumice stone.

Just below they place a container the Bernegal or standing. Nearly spherical shape of ceramic handicraft, it is made of clay and fine sand. It has an upper opening of an appropriate size to enter a vessel with handles and thus collects the water.

Destiladera en el patio de La Casa de Los Balcones

Destiladera en el patio de La Casa de Los Balcones

The small glass or pitcher was very important and should be aluminum because it gives coolness to the water and does not rust. Striking is the cut of the jar, in the form of spikes.

Also you shouldn´t forget the ceramic plate to cover the Bernegal preventing dust entering with a central hole to let the water enter the destiladera drip by drip.

In the pila are usually placed plants maidenhair ferns that grow in cool, damp places. Its roots enter in contact with the water and it is usually heard to say “the maidenhair not grow if the water is not good, and the water is not good until the maidenhair grows”.

Of the three distillers that we maintain at the La Casa de los Balcones, the two in the courtyard are popular of wooden furniture, highlighting the third, masonry facing the kitchen of our museum.

Destiladera en el Museo de La Casa de Los Balcones

Destiladera in the museum of La Casa de Los Balcones

More examples of destiladeras in our  Álbum de Rincones de La Casa de Los Balcones

 

Canarian Sauces (Mojo Canario)

One of the star products of our Islands and attracts the attention of all visitors, are certainly without doubt the Mojos. The name “Mojo” is what we use to describe our typical oil-based sauces, vinegar and garlic, nowadays converted into a signal of fundamental identity in the Canarian cuisine.

Mojo verde y Mojo rojo

The origin of the mojos is lost in the memory of the islanders but the variety of recipes and ingredients used in its preparation are the result of the creativity of the island, linked to the fortunate geographical situation of the islands turned into meeting point of various cultures. The marine trade routes left in the hands of Canary farmers a treat variety of peppers, herbs, chili peppers which bove fruit and took root in its volcanic soils, helped by the bonanza of its variety of microclimates. It shouldn’t be left to pass the fact that Canaries is one of the regions with the most variety of potatoes, some of which have been lost even in their places of origen America.

Ingredientes Mojo Rojo - foto de Caja de Sabores

The great variety and popularity of the mojos sauces is due to its simple preparation as its peculiar taste. The real mojo should be prepared in a mortar or pestle allowing each ingredient retain its personality. Mainly they are characterized by preparing all the ingredients raw, which makes them retain all their vitamins and therefore very healthy. There is always an exception to the rule, so between the great variety of recipes for mojos we can find one of palmero origen (La palma) distinguished for using fried garlic.

Ingredientes Mojo Verde - foto de Mercado Calabajío

Popularly divided into red and green sauces, soft and spicy hot sauces, but exists so many as dishes to accompany them. Experts speak of traditional mojos, dressing, salmorejos, pickle, sauces. Red with peppers, with or without tomato; green parsley and cilantro, avocado can also be used… and we can continue with a huge range of recipes that could include cheese, almonds, fruits, hot peppers, all kinds of herbs and spices and even fruits. The great thing is that all retain the essence, but each person elaborates it their own way.

La ventita de la Casa de Los Balcones, 3er premio I Concurso fotografía

In any case the green mojos often accompany or fried or oiled fish and seafood, such as limpets. Red sauces for the strong and intense plates as pig´s meat, the jareas, sardines, rabbit or offal flavor dishes. But definitely the main and indispensable companion of the mojos are wrinkled potatoes. That exquisite Canarian potatoes, unpeeled and salted that can be served as a snack cover or as a garnish in all kinds of dishes. And it is clear that it should not be missing on a Canarian table where there are rich mojos, a good “chunk of bread “to soak”.

At the Casa de Los Balcones we have a beautiful winery, which is intended for the sale of agro-food products, such as the Mojos and other typical products of our land.

Fuentes:

Manta Esperancera

La Manta Esperancera
 

Many are the historical references that exist about “la manta esperancera” that used to be used by the canary preasants as a dress pledge. the cold of the humid and high zones of the island created a curious phenomenon; that the blanket, normally imported from England, passed from the beds to a clothing for the men of the countryside.

 

“An image of the snowy Teide, conserved in my memories, the most warm canary embrace with semlls of father and grandpa”

The root of the utilization of this clothes started with the strongest contacts of a commercial type that existed between Canaries and England and with the habitual importation of the “manta esperancera”, that was a natural white colour from the wool, with stripes colour blue near the extremes. There were raincoats, that were a great ally against the rain and the cold. “La manta” was folded in two halves, it was gathered at the neck and was used as a cloak.

Traje de Mago con su Manta Esperancera

John of the Cross refers in his book “Textiles and clothing of Tenerife” A. Diston text that accompanies the lámina “Man of Tacoronte”, his 1824 album reads: “The most striking part of hia outfit is an English blanket folded on a piece of rope tied around his neck. This forms a laver that shields him from the heavy rains that fall in the high dwelling place where he lives and , wrapped in it, spends the night without undressing, lying on the floor of his miserable hut or on a bed of straw. Of all the blankets to Tenerife, not a quarter is used to cover the beds, almost all the farmers take hem as shown here.

The Colon Egg

Girolamo Benzoni in his History of the New World (Venecia, 1565) tells the following history:

While Christopher Columbus was at the table with many Spanish nobles, one of them said: ‘Mr. Columbus, even if your worship had not found the Indies, we wouldn’t have been missing a person who has undertaken similar an adventure similar to yours, here in Spain which is a land rich in great men very knowledgeable in cosmography and literature ‘. Columbus did not respond to these words but, having asked them to bring an egg, she placed it on the table and said, ‘Gentlemen, I bet with anyone that you are not able to stand this egg up as I do, naked, without any help. “They all tried without success and when the egg returned to Columbus he hit it against the table, placing it subtly he left it standing up. All present were confused and understood what he wanted to tell them, that after the deed done and seen, anyone knows how to do it.

From this story comes the popular saying that “Columbus was the first man to … put an egg standing up and that they use the expression “like egg of Columbus” to describe something that seemed complex or difficult and that results easy or straightforward once understood.

Putting the Canary Islands as a witness at the time of this event along with other historical representations, you might recognize some of the steps that occur for any kind of project or company. Studying and preparing, with foreign aid and favorable winds, positive circumstances, conviction and faith, being constant, adventure, with all its challenges and uncertainties included, ultimately, success, satisfaction and reward as a result of the above.

The Manila Shawl

Exquisite and colorful garment which takes its name from the city of Manila, capital of the former Spanish colony of the Philippines, where a great quantity of products from the Orient were shipped by Spanish galleons to be brought to Spain.

Mantón de Manila en la Casa de Los Balcones
The shawl was a great success especially in Seville where it began to be used between the singers and “dancers” of flamenco. It also enjoyed a quick popularity in Mexico, with these two areas “driving” of the garment to be the main commerce of the major routes in maritime trade in the sixteenth century.

Diferentes Mantones de Manila disponibles en la Casa de Los Balcones
However, this peculiar garment has its origin in China. They were made of silk and hand embroidered. The decorative motifs, originally were mainly bamboo, dragons and pagodas; but because of the Spanish preferences and to facilitate marketing were changed by more typical motifs of our culture such as flowers, birds, medallions and flower-pots. One of the motifs that has had most acceptance has always been roses, perhaps fot its symbolism reflected in the Passion of Christ. There are some who adjudicate meanings to each type of flower and so lily is purity; Daisy: impatience; rose: secret; sunflower: fidelity…

Mantón de Manila en la Casa de Los Balcones
It notes that the first Shawls of Manila had no fringes. It was in Spain where they were added. The lattice fringe and the sumptuous and elaborate embroidery, are primarily responsible for the high cost, but undoubtedly, also, for its great beauty.

Manton de Manila