The poncho has become an international icon in the world of fashion, but where did it come from? How did it arrive in Mexico and the United States?
The Mexican Poncho
To some the term “Mexican Poncho” may come across as offensive; since, it didn’t originate in Mexico. Natives from the Andean Mountains predating the Spanish arrivals are credited with that privilege. Pre-Incan cultures dating back over 2500 years are believed to have worn the beautiful garment.
After the arrival of the Spanish the Mapuche scattered their population throughout central Chile and surrounding areas. They were farmers, fishers and hunters; they weaved the wool from llamas into fine fabrics including the poncho. They traded their goods with the Incas from the north. Its safe to assume that this was the way the poncho was introduced to Mexico.
The Military Poncho
In its simplest form its just a blanket with a whole in the middle; but, it can be designed with intricate knitting patterns and fabrics. The U.S. Military integrated the poncho with a waterproof latex coat from India. With its waterproof properties and unique design it shielded soldiers from the harsh elements.
Since the 1800s the poncho was worn by the military forces. By the end of World War l prior to World War ll it was significantly improved. Following experimental testing in the Panama jungles it was found that it was extremely useful for survival and other tactical purposes. Being part of the famous ghillie suit, snipers use it for advanced camouflage techniques. It has remained a standard issued piece of U.S. Military equipment.
The Fashion Poncho
There are many types of ponchos nowadays. There’re the ones that ward off the rain and wind and the ones used for fashion. In the past they were mostly used by prominent men, but in the world of fashion women have embraced its colorful and stylish attributes.
The International Day of the Poncho
On the 27th in Boyaca, Colombia they celebrate the Day of the Poncho. The local artisans display their works of art to people from around the world. Weighing more than 1500 pounds they hold the record for the world’s largest poncho.
Why Mexicans love it.
Mexicans are extremely proud of their culture. You will forever see the poncho embedded into their traditions; and the reason they love it is the same reason why the rest of the world loves it: its warm and pretty so get yours today or just leave a comment and tell us what you think.