Mexican Culture Costumes

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    Traditional Mexican Costumes for Women

    • The huipile is a simple, sleeveless tunic made from wool or cotton worn by women to signify their marital status. This costume can be used to identify the locale a woman comes from. Most significantly, the huipile carries religious significance for the wearer.
      The rebozo is a scarf or shawl used in nonindigenous and indigenous (native) populations. It is made from silk, cotton or wool. You can use the rebozo to carry various items. The rebozo is woven with stripes of color to signify the various Mexican communities.
      The Quechquemitl is a traditional poncho worn by women at parties or for special occasions. It is intricately embroidered with floral or graphic designs.
      The blouse can be worn instead of the huipile. The Mexican blouse is usually embroidered with colorful patterns, beads and lace.
      The Mexican skirt is referred to by different names depending upon the region: chinchuate, posahuanco, enagua, enredo and refajo. Some Mexican women prefer to wear the traditional ankle-length skirt while others wear a knee-length version. Traditionally these are made of cotton or wool although they are now also made from silk and lace. This skirt is a long rectangle that is rolled around the hips. It covers the legs and is tied around the woman's waist by a waistband. Regional and ethnic differences can influence how it is worn as well. Women in one region of Mexico may wear the skirt pleated at the front while women in another setting may set pleats all the way around their skirts. Still other groups may wear their skirts more tightly around their legs and yet others may fashion their skirts to be more voluminous.

    Traditional Mexican Costumes for Men

    • Mexican men's traditional clothing is more reflective of European influence. Men usually prefer to wear shirts and trousers, and they wear a sarape for ceremonial occasions. The sarape is a native garment, brightly colored with a fringe at the ends. It combines the Maya culture with the Mexican poncho and originates from the Mexican state of Coahuila. The men's traditional Mexican wear is simply shirts (button down) and trousers with a European influence, much as men wear in the United States. In the tropical areas of Mexico, the men may wear shirts known as "guayabera," a short-sleeved, button-down shirt embellished with embroidery. These shirts are worn for both casual and formal wear.

    Ballet Folklorico

    • The ballet folklorico is characterized by bright, vibrant dresses for the women. These skirts are usually full and paired with an embroidered peasant blouse. The skirts are said to originate from the folk story of the oriental princess who was sold as a slave in the Mexican city of Puebla. After she fell in love with a local Creole, she created her wedding gown based on the local costume but decorated it in the oriental tradition.
      Another story behind the folklorico skirt says that the aristocratic ladies in Mexico would purchase "castor" fabric to make skirts for their female servants (called "china" or "chinita," (pronounced "cheena" and "cheenita.") The length of the fabric was too short to reach the floor, so a length of silk was added to the top.
      Each costume is representative of one of the states in Mexico.


    • The Mexican musician's costume, called "traje de charro" (cowboy suit) is usually decorated with silver buttons called "galas.. The mariachi pairs his suit with a white dress shirt or a high-collared shirt known as a "charro" shirt, and also wears a brightly colored tie called a monio and low boots called botines. Mariachis wear the sombrero, a wide-brimmed hat, when they perform.

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