Accepted Paper:

El traje fallero: a carrier of tradition?  


Urszula Wilk (Institute of Iberian and Ibero-American Studies, University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of this paper is to present and analyze the use of el traje fallero - an attire used by los falleros - the people who celebrate the festivity of Saint Joseph, las Fallas, in Valencia, Spain.

Paper long abstract:

This paper presents and analyzes the use of traje fallero - a costume used by los falleros - the people celebrating the festivity of las Fallas in Valencia, Spain. Although considered "traditional" and frequently dated centuries ago, the current aspect of this attire was introduced in the 20th century. First created from a mixture of traditional farmers' celebratory garments, it was used to underline the special character of the fiesta. Later on it has undergone a process of rigorous codification with the purpose of attracting attention to the feast, and nowadays, if not combined properly, it can be a cause even of exclusion from festivity. Today it is not only worn during las Fallas, but used by los falleros during whole year to underline the celebration of any fiesta that they are invited to. This sometimes causes controversy, as los falleros - because of their special attire - tend to attract the attention that should be directed at the principal actors of the given fiesta. El traje fallero, creating a community within its bearers, also frequently causes an "us-them" division in the Valencian society. It creates a discussion between those who consider it a traditional garment and a transmitter of cultural heritage, and those who state that this custom was only introduced to promulgate tourism. Altogether el traje fallero remains an important element of the Valencian cultural landscape and the analysis of its history and current form is a good example to present the complexity of the Valencian society.

Panel Heri013
Folk costume in the ritual year and beyond: heritage, identity marker & symbolic object (Ritual Year SIEF Working Group panel)