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:

How to realize a canarian threadwork

Calado de La Casa de Los Balcones

Calado de La Casa de Los Balcones

Materials:

  • A small frame
  • A piece of cloth, at least 35 x 35 cms. (fabric must be very thin, linen)
  • A skein of yarn
  • A needle
  • A pair of scissors

Steps to Follow:

After placing the material in an appropriate frame, maintaining a work surface of at least 10 cm on each side, begin by pulling 6 threads, then leave 6 pull out 6 and leave 25.

We form the squares on the threads left by separating the threads by 5 in 5, putting the needle always in the center of the square.

We make an escapulario, stitch picking up the same 5 threads from around the square over the 6 threads left.

We finish with 4 spirit stiches on the 4 empty.

At the edge of the work will have a fine scallops.

Once completed, we will cut the scallop edge . After washing and ironing, we can enjoy an authentic canarian threadwork handkerchief.

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 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

The Canarian Earring

The Canarian Earring, also known by the name of Aro, Hoop Earring Crescent or the ‘S’ is a traditional type of earring in the Canaries.

The first written reference of the earring in the Canary Islands, was in the early nineteenth century, when Victor Grau Bassas alluded to it in his uses and customs of the rural population of Gran Canaria’.

However, this type of earring corresponds to the oldest form of drop earring known on earth, as the Sumerian women used them similarly 2500 years BC.

Several types of earring exist, like the most basic and original with its shape and smooth lunar crescent, but there are many varieties with engravings and artistic ‘S’ reclining in its inside.

The earrings are made of gold, silver and other precious materials, in different sizes and versions of artisant craft. With its elegance and sexy charm are unique and very particular to look beautiful and appropriate in females of all ages and styles.

Nowadays both look charming worn by naughty girls, rebellious youngsters, like classical canarian mothers and elegant canarian grandmothers. The fame and beauty of the canarian earrings go beyond the borders of our Archipelago.

You can find a collection of the best earrings in the Casa de Los Balcones.

The Timple

The timple is a musical stringed instrument typical of the Canary Island. Consist in a little guitar with five strings although there is also one with four. Born presumably in the middle of the XIX century, the origin of this instrument of a “parrandera” nature is the baroque Laud, although is possibe that between its genes is present la Kora bereber. Even some compares it with the ukelele.

 

Timples y detalles de la madera de la Casa de Los Balcones
 

It presents to us an element of great complex, such in its construction as in its execution. It is created by combining special woods as Morera or Palo Santo, Cedar or Pine, Barbusano or Moral among others.

At present exits great artisans builders of timple, that continue the tradition of their ancestors using six different types of wood in its fabrication. We have to emphasize the use of Palo Santo, walnut, cypress or mora, this last is hard to get and it is the preferred for the case of the timple for many interpreters.

 

Taller de fabricación de timples
 

Alive element, the wood requires treatment and ageing for its drying that encloses in many occasions the secret of a great sound.

The most habitual technique of execution of the timple is strumming and punteo. In “la parranda” the timple commands, one of the instruments most representative of our folklore, always present in the heart of the canarian people.

In La Casa de los Balcones we have differente types, among them authentic works of art. Timples dones by master artisans, and also we have timples of importation which are more economical. Here we leave you with our friend Rogelio in the old Wines Press of La Casa de los Balcones turning a timple. Enjoy it!

Canarian knife

The Canarian Knife

The Canarian knife, valuable piece of craftsmanship while a useful tool, totally handmade, is characterized by a handle or end, beautiful and striking which makes it also very popular among collectors. This handle is worked in materials such as gold, silver, alpaca (copper, zinc and nickel), ivory, the ram’s horn (black and white blond) and ebony. Its blades, forged by a blacksmith are made of gold, silver, alpaca, Damascene steel, stainless steel and carbon steel (alloy of iron and carbon).

 

El Cuchillo Canario
On the origin and history of the Canary Islands knife several theories exist. Located chronologically by some in the thirteenth century, others say their presence in the Canary Islands does not go back beyond the mid-nineteenth century, associated with the early banana cultivation. Which is also known as “Naife”, from the English word “knife” would lead us to the theory that it was the British who brought it to the islands and yet the peculiar characteristics of the handle suggest a North African origin. Finally, after many studies, Don Alejandro Moreno and C. Marrero point out that – “the origin of the Canary Knife is in those peninsular territories where Arabs remained after the Reconquest finished. For further signs, I would say are focused or located in the regions of Toledo and Albacete, cities where, as was written by Martinez del Peral, making knives comes from the Moors, skilled artisans in cutting and treating metals “-.

Colección de cuchillos canarios en la Casa de Los Balcones, La Orotava
And in the Canary Islands, the knife took roots as an essential tool for the caltle breeder  and the farmer and between the first written references, we draw attention to the words of the English Olivia Stone, in 1885: “Islanders have at least a good habit. Wearly all men and boys carry knives, but as soon as the fight begins, throw them far away. If this practice was not well established, the passionate blood would lead to many terrible tragedies. ”

Campesino con Cuchillo Canario
Being motive of study for many, the Canarian knife can be classified by reference to the handle, in: Wooden handle knife, after Summit handle knife, knife after Coast handle knife and out of Flower handle Knife. Also, according to the length of the knife blade we find the Pastor, of 18 cm; Farm Knife or Platanero of 21 cm and Pitero knife, more than 23 cm. Finally, considering the materials used in their preparation they are divided into work knives and Jewel-Knives.

It has been deserving even of a monument to the Canarian knife, located at the end of Lomo Guillen (Guía of Gran Canaria), this city has been considered since time immemorial the quintessential land of knife.

Monumento
According Bel says, if you give a Canarian knife to someone, it is desirable that in exchange you receive a coin from the recipient, which is the only way to assure of peace between the two people.

Bibliografía:

  • Consideraciones Generales sobre el origen y procedencia del Cuchillo Canario, por Alejandro C. Moreno y Marrero.
  • “La huella de tus manos”, de Stavros Meletlidis.
  • Fotografás de Stavros Meletlidis.