The traditional clothing of the Hispanic world varies a lot by country. Some items go back to the pre-conquest indigenous traditions while others are more recent. In this blog, I will discuss two common articles of clothing: the sombrero and poncho as well as one lesser-known item, the huipil a traditional blouse of Central America.
The word sombrero comes from the Spanish word for shade: sombra. Many people use the hat to protect themselves from the sun. The sombrero comes originally from Spain but the Mexicans have their own version with a very broad brim. Traditionally, ranchers used sombreros only for work but now they are worn on holidays by all.
The poncho is the traditional clothing South American indigenous people. A group called the Mapuche, who live in the south of Chile and Argentina, use it there in the cold and rainy periods. The traditional poncho is made of wool and keeps the wearer warm. It is similar to a blanket with a hole for the head and allows for free movement of the arms. The wool comes from four animals; the alpaca, llama, vicuna and guanaco, all similar to the camels. Nowadays, inexpensive plastic versions of the poncho are worn in North America in extreme rain.
Finally, the lesser known huipil is a blouse for women of Central America, especially those in Guatemala. Indigenous women still weave them today as their Mayan ancestors did 1000 years ago. The colors and designs show the community from which a woman originates. You can find images of beautiful handmade huipils By clicking here: