"Tápame con tu rebozo llorona,
porque me muero de frio"
The rebozo is a Mexican garment born from the fusion between the pre-Hispanic culture and the foreign influence. Thus the rebozo as we know it today, would be a fusion between the Filipino shawl and the Spanish mantilla.
The origin of the Mexican rebozo per sei is not exactly known, although it is thought that it may have originated from the use of "ayate" in the clothing of native men and women before the colony. The "ayate"It was made of two long maguey fabrics and was used to carry objects and children.
In the Nahuatl language, rebozo is called ciua necuatlapacholoni"what a woman touches or something similar", although among the Nahuas of the Mexican state of Morelos, it is known as cenzotl: "fabric of a thousand colours".
In Histories of the Indies of New Spain and the Islands of Tierra Firme, Fray Diego Durán mentions that mestizo women used cloth to cover their heads and shoulders before entering the churches, perhaps inspired by the cloths that the Catholic friars required native women to wear when entering these enclosures.
By the end of the 16th century, the shawl was already being used by the mestizos, mulattos, blacks and natives, and the latter had already learned to weave them. Two centuries later, in 1855, the word rebozo appears for the first time in the dictionary of the Spanish Academy, whose meaning is "mantilla used by women to cover their down"..
Symbol of rebellion and emancipation
During the Mexican revolution, it became a symbol of rebellion and identity for Mexican women: some used it to carry their children while they followed their husbands or relatives in the armed struggle.
Others used the shawl to hide their weapons, which were then passed on to the men, and thus participated in the Revolution.
Years later, the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo proudly wore this garment of female liberation and independence.
During the golden age of Mexican cinema, many important actresses of the time such as María Félix "La Doña", Dolores del Rio, María Elena Marqués, among others.
The rebozo today
Today, shawls are made in different colors and patterns, some have triangles, stars and are naturally dyed with fruits or plants. The classics are those made of silk, articela and cotton with the personal touch of ikat (dyeing and weaving technique). Each region that makes it up determines the color, size and material; in some areas they combine techniques and materials and even add sequins and crystal beads. They are also known as shawls, scarves.
In some parts of Mexico, a shawl may be given as a gift instead of the traditional engagement ring. Nowadays, it would not be so exaggerated that this practice is coming back, because due to the material (for example, silk), the process and the time of manufacture (several months), one can find shawls whose cost can reach several thousand pesos.
Some of the places known for making the finest and most detailed rebozos are: Santa María del Rio in the State of San Luis Potosí, Tenancingo in the State of Mexico, San Andrés Chicahuaxtla in the State of Oaxaca, Michoacán and Puebla.
Without a doubt, it is a garment full of history, tradition and identity that, as a Mexican woman, makes me proud to wear on any occasion.
Do you already know our shawls in cotton Chiapas? And for colder climates, they are in wool and cotton mixed with polyester.
Sources: https://www.geoenciclopedia.com/historia-del-rebozo/, https://culturacolectiva.com/historia/la-prenda-de-mexico-el-rebozo