Select Page

Unlike the permanent museum celebrating Las Fallas here in Valencia, there are often a few temporary exhibits celebrating this unique cultural heritage here. I went into the city center one afternoon specifically to visit the Exposición “Falles de cartó,” a unique glimpse into the history of Las Fallas costumes and cultures since photography was commonly available.

The exhibit, located on the back of the city hall building, was both free to the public and quite engaging. In the antechamber to the exhibit, the seal of Valencia dating from the 1700’s was displayed with a replica of La Dama de Elche, which I hope to see in person sometime soon. Beyond that, the photos and exhibits covered the walls with interesting and engaging representations of fallas costumes over many, many years.

The exhibit was somewhat whimsical with poses suggesting careful posing and pictures of the fallas in the streets. The exhibits in cases, while lit poorly for addition photography (my apologies, gentle reader!), demonstrated artifacts over 100 years old, including one text discussing Las Fallas back in 1792. I know this is a lot of pictures, but I hope you enjoy them!

DSCN6696 copy

DSCN6697 copy

DSCN6699 copy

 

Colorized black-and-white photo of a lovely fallera who clearly has just been picking flowers in the garden to accent her dress. And pearls. Lots of pearls.

DSCN6700 copy

DSCN6701 copy

 

Falleras from days long past. 1870, anyone?

DSCN6702 copy

Affectionally known as the “flapper fallera” from 1925. Odd how such stylized traditional dress also reflects fashion trends.

DSCN6703 copy

Lots more flower-picking going on. Here, the young lady in the picture from 1943 was either caught picking flowers from someone else’s latticework garden, or she is secretly spontaneously redecorating. I prefer to think the latter, but hey, you never know!

DSCN6704 copy

Ahhh, 1972. A good year to crank that dress up, show some leg, and be ready for your princely fallero in baby-blue polyester traditional dress to come take you to a party somewhere.

DSCN6705 copy

Who knew there was an evening gown competition of fallera dress? This was a set of four pictures, the top two from 1935 and the bottom two from 1976. Glamazonian dinner party dress at its best in 1935, and seriously sassy falleras with their falleros in 1976.

DSCN6706 copy

DSCN6707 copy

There were also some pictures of the fallas in previous years, including ready-to-rumble Statue of Liberty from 1947.

DSCN6712 copy

DSCN6711 copy

DSCN6710 copy

DSCN6709 copy

Totally don’t understand the shoe-with-teeth falla from 1967. Had to be important, because I recognize some of the buildings from the Plaza Ayuntamiento, or town hall.

DSCN6713 copy

DSCN6714 copy

DSCN6715 copy

Interesting reference about Las Fallas and the celebration of St. Joseph’s Day from 1792.

DSCN6716 copy

DSCN6718 copy

Combs, jewelry, and sashes celebrating the traditional knickknacks of the career fallera. She had a lot of stuff to manage while looking super-cool.

DSCN6719 copy

DSCN6720 copy

DSCN6721 copy

To me, some of these images are the funniest. Little kids dressed as adult falleros is a tradition that continues today, and are amazing testaments to the importance of this festival.

DSCN6722 copy

DSCN6723 copy

DSCN6724 copy

In this in-home falla, that would be a book, guitar, buñuelo, and jester. I’ll give a shiny quarter to someone who can come up for an explanation of that combination of things that makes any sense whatsover.

DSCN6725 copy

“Carlo, do you know of anything that will make little José look more authentic for his yearly fallero portrait?”

“Un momento, María Carmen, I have just what he needs… José, hold my cigar!”

“Oh, Carlo, it is truly perfect!”

DSCN6726 copy

Brooding falleras. So serious about picking flowers! Clearly, the one standing on the right spots an iris or daffodil that needs to be added to her basket.

DSCN6727 copy

DSCN6728 copy

Even horses can be part of the glory that is Las Fallas!

DSCN6729 copy

DSCN6730 copy

I think the guitar (or is that ukelele?) is a prop. He does not look convinced that he can play that instrument. Perhaps he is more of an accordion kind of fallero?

DSCN6731 copy

DSCN6733 copy

DSCN6735 copy

DSCN6736 copy

At the height of awesome street food is the buñuelo, an amazing calabaza-flavored fried donut-type confection squeezed into the hot oil by hand (that’s a huge vat of dough by her left hand) and then cooked until golden brown. Then sprinkled with sugar. Then eaten while hot. Then regretted for a minimum of two hours.

DSCN6738 copy

Mad scientist or artist? You decide.

DSCN6739 copy

A little gruesome but still pretty fascinating. These are draft figurines and molds for larger fallas.

DSCN6740 copy

DSCN6741 copy

DSCN6743 copy

DSCN6744 copy