Hola Muchachos! If you want to grab the Mexican feeling whether you are south of the border or anywhere in the world, one sure fire way is to dress the part. One article of clothing that is stylish and hip, yet genuinely Mexican, is the poncho. Ponchos come in many colors, fabrics, sizes and looks whether they are cool and rugged or bedazzled to dress up that special woman’s evening attire. One thing is certain, they are way easy to don as they usually have no buttons, snaps or zippers. Sports teams have grabbed onto the Mexican theme and today you can find just about any sports team’s logo on a poncho such as the photo here of Janet Certo and Izzy Garcia proudly wearing their favorite sports team’s poncho, the Arizona Cardinals (Cardinales en Español).
Despite having some South American origins in Chile and Peru, the poncho has flourished in Mexico and is now almost as associated with Mexico as the sombrero. It is universally recognized as an iconic symbol of Mexico and its culture, history and people. Prior to the Spanish invasion of Mexico, the poncho was even worn for centuries dating back to the 1500’s. Originally hand-woven, it allowed your arms to be free yet still provide warmth. Essentially, it was like a large blanket with two grand arm holes sewn into the blanket. However, this is not how they were first made. The poncho originated by simply cutting a hole in the middle of a blanket and popping it over your head. This creation was perfect for the desert climates of Mexico and the American southwest, where temperatures plummeted once the sun went down. Later, the poncho made its way into the United States military forces operating on the Western Plains of the country. These ponchos were made of a latex material which was essentially rubber-coated cloth to keep the soldiers dry. There were later used for all U.S. military forces in the Spanish-American War of 1898 and then again in the Philipine-American War in 1900. And even when the Americans joined World War I and then again in World War II, part of their standard attire was…you guessed it the poncho!
Today, ponchos are found around the world in all sorts of fashion cues. Women’s ponchos can be found in cashmere, silk, wool and other fine fabrics. Men’s ponchos can be made from anything from cotton, hemp, tweed and denim. And of course, there is always the versatile rain poncho. Although not known to many of us in Sonora and Arizona due to the lack of rain, the rain poncho is used around the world in many colors but always with the distinctive poncho style. However, the Mexican poncho is still generally found in two styles. The serape poncho is similar to serape blankets which are the brightly colored blankets that are seen in Mexican restaurants and just about every tourist town throughout Mexico. These ponchos generally come in assorted colors with a fringe flowing along the bottom. The second type of poncho is the falsa poncho, known to have a much looser weave and is similar to the traditional falsa blanket. The falsa poncho is most well-known around Tijuana and other tourist areas in Mexico.
So, the next time you are out shopping around the curios shops in Rocky Point, be sure to check out the cool jacket of choice…the poncho! And lest we never forget what our dear friend Bob Marley reminded us as he sang…
“In high seas or in low seas,
I’m gonna be your friend…
I’m gonna be your friend.
In high tide or in low tide,
I’ll be by your side…
I’ll be by your side.”
Can’t wait til you all are at my side on the beautiful beaches here in the best town of all…ROCKY POINT!! God Bless! ADIOS AMIGOS!! Marco