The Pollera and Somberero Pintado: Symbols of Panamanian Culture
Refers to the traditional costume of Panama worn by women consisting of a skirt and a blouse. Its origins are that of Spanish clothing worn by peasant women in the seventeenth century. The most iconic pollera is that of the pollera de gala; its development began when upper-class Spanish women started settling in the Americas. Since their lavish clothing was unsuitable for the tropical climate, they would appropriate the dress of their [Spanish] servants. However to make them appear more luxurious they would decorate the garments with lavish embroidery and lace. This type of pollera was eventually adopted to the white criollo and mestizo population; and to this day is seen as a national symbol of Panama. Traditionally a woman owns two polleras in her life; one during childhood and the other when she becomes an adult. Typically polleras de gala are handmade of white linen and embroidered with colorful patterns such as flowers and fruit. However, there are many different variations of polleras outside of the pollera de gala, and differences base on region. Another common type of the pollera is that of the pollera congo, with its origins among the Afro-Colonial population of Colón. The most common style of the pollera congo is a colorful patchwork one made by the use old fabrics, and it reflects the polleras worn by African women during the days of slavery. A woman who wears a pollera is referred to as an empollerada.
Polleras are usually accompanied by jewelry and accessories. The most common ones are the peinetas and tembleques. Peinetas are golden tortoise-shaped combs that surround the head like a halo, while tembleques are ornaments made of wire, pearls, or crystals; attached to the peinetas. These two accessories are often passed down by families as heirlooms.
El Sombrero Pintado
Is a traditional Panamanian hat most commonly worn by men, but occasionally by women as well. Recognized by its distinctive pattern of white and black rings, its origins are in the province of Coclé, however these days its seen as a national icon similar to pollera de gala. It is handwoven using the fibers of plants bleached in the sun; the rings that are black are made by using an Indigenous method of boiling fibers with chisná bush leafs, which cause a natural black dye. The cost of a hat is based on the number of rings, and hats with more than twenty rings can take up to a month to make.
Before Latino and Hispanic, there was Mestizo. All created by colonizers to have us hate ourselves. This essay by Native American scholar Jack Forbes is still relevant several decades after it was first published. It is a must read for any Mexican seeking to understand how identity labels are constructed, and how they are able to keep many of us mentally enslaved hundreds of years after they were created. Let’s decolonize.
El mexicano no quiere ser ni indio, ni español. Tampoco quiere descender de ellos. Los niega. Y no se afirma en tanto que mestizo, sino como abstracción: es un hombre. Se vuelve hijo de la nada. Él empieza en sí mismo.
A Chilean couple dance the cueca, the national dance of Chile. The dance is meant to be humorous and flirtatious in nature, in which the male dancer pursues his partner, who initially resists his romantic advances.
The cueca is thought to have originated in Peru and later adopted by the Chilean people. Musicologists believe that its origins are in the Zamacueca, an Afro-Peruvian interpretation of the Fandango of Europe. However, the cueca lacks essential Afro-Peruvian dance moves found in the Zamacueca, such as hip moving and chest popping. It’s typically danced to music played by a guitar, accompanied by an accordion.
I see MANY indigenous people, most of who are unaware/disconnected from their true identity, claim to be “MESTIZO”, and they do so believing this terminology is somehow a term that respectfully & accurately describes indigenous people who happen to be “mixed” (even if they aren’t) with Spanish-blood. And i guess in today’s age “mestizo” just means someone who is European/native mix, so people don’t really see it as a degrading term.
But the ORIGIN of the word “Mestizo” (and Mulatto) are both created out of racism. When Europeans, specifically Spaniards raped indigenous women, and the women gave birth, the Spaniards did NOT view the child as his son/daughter, nor as a human, but rather half Spaniard, and then half dog, since Spaniards did NOT view indigenous people as humans, but as dogs who were cursed by their Christian “god”, which is why they labeled the “mixed” children “Mestizo/Mulatto”, not just because Europeans viewed indigenous people as less than humans, but also with the intention to detach the indigenous people from their true identity, and then tricking them into adopting a racist-terminology that would further disconnect and/or ethnically cleanse indigenous people, and have them claiming an identity that NOT only detached them from their origin, but is also a term born out of hatred against indigenous people. Mestizo is NOT an ethnicity, nor a race, nor anything at all, so claiming it means to claim to be NOTHING; “I am a NOTHING”, and/or claiming to be what the Spaniards saw in you: A half-breed dog; not human enough to be looked and/or treated like a human, which is why the “half-breed dog” was either enslaved by the Spanish father or sold to other European slavers, and afterwards killing the indigenous mother.
Si algo he notado los últimos meses es que el mestizo no la tiene fácil en su vida; primero la búsqueda de su propia identidad, luego la discriminación de tres frentes al mismo tiempo: los blancos porque no eres blanco, los indígenas porque no eres indígena y los otros mestizos que se creen blancos o indígenas y luego todos juntos queriéndote hacer sentir “indigno” de su aprecio o respeto solo por no compartir el mismo color de piel o ser el mismo accidente geográfico que son ellos. Total que uno solo cabe en su propio espacio y jamás le da gusto a nadie.
Estaría más chido sentirse orgulloso de los méritos propios, no del azar que te hizo nacer en tal pueblo o tener ciertos rasgos biológicos que tú no elegiste. Pero bueeeeee…. cada loco con su tema.