What Is The Typical Puerto Rican Clothing?

Last Updated on March 14, 2022 by

Puerto Ricans are the people of Puerto Rico, which is officially known as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It is an incorporated territory of the United States, located in the Northeastern Caribbean. Puerto Rico is a Spanish word that means ‘Rich Port.’ It is the tiniest and most eastern of the Greater Antilles. It is an archipelago formed by the main island of Puerto Rico and several small islands such as Vieques, Culebra, Mona, and numerous islets. Like every country has its typical traditional clothing, so do the Puerto Ricans. 

The most extraordinary and well-known garment of Puerto Rico is the guayabera. The garment’s fabric is wool, cotton, linen, and nowadays polyester is used. The natives make the guayabera from pineapple plant fibers. Traditional Puerto Rican clothing is substantially Spanish with layers and heavy materials such as wool. The guayabera shirt is an item of traditional clothing still worn in modern times. It is also called the Mexican wedding shirt. It has several front pockets and is a loose button-up men’s shirt. Despite the traditional Puerto Rico clothing, there are two different styles- Jibaro and Bomba.

The History Of Typical Puerto Rican Clothing

History Of Typical Puerto Rican Clothing

The Spanish came to Puerto Rico in the 15th century when the Puerto Ricans adopted the European style. Before the Spanish arrived, the natives wore minimal clothing, and some men were completely naked. Married women covered themselves by wearing a simple apron or skirt. 

The Spanish took over, and intermarriages took place. The Spanish introduced the Christian religion to them then; hence, the locals needed to dress Spanish. Jibaro refers to the natives in Puerto Rico, and the jibaro clothing has the Spanish influence and African because of the enslaved people taken there. 

It formed a new prominent culture, mixing native traditions with Spanish influences. The Puerto Ricans are proud of their Jibaro heritage, and it is an iconic part of their culture. Wool clothing is the typical traditional Puerto Rican clothing, and men still wear it in modern times. Due to the hot climate, the Spanish told them to make clothing using cotton suitable for the heat. 

The Jibaro Culture

Traditionally, in the Jibaro culture, men used to wear a simple cotton shirt, pants, and straw hats. Most men did not wear shoes, and some men wore a colorful sash around their waist. When the natives would wear the Jibaro fashion for performances, the outfit would include a matching neck scarf. 

The women’s fashion was more colorful and vibrant than men’s clothing. They wore flowing skirts with white blouses, which exposed the shoulders and neck. They would decorate their hair with flowers or headscarves.

How Puerto Ricans Celebrated Heritage And The Significance Of Their Typical Clothing

 Puerto Rico and African tradition mixed and formed the Bomba, and today they use Bomba to celebrate African and Puerto Rican heritage. Bomba’s clothing was more subtle, unlike Jibaro. Men wore a colored shirt, white pants, and sometimes a full white suit. Some men would wear straw or white hats. The skirts were often white with colorful accents, blue and red for women. The women wore a dress used for a fashionable silhouette. Women either left their hair unadorned or wore a turban.

In the 19th century, men usually wore long-sleeved and button-up shirts due to the strict working conditions in the sugarcane fields. The buttoned shirts protect them from the sharp sugarcane leaves. 

The Taino Natives And Puerto Rican Clothing

The Taino Natives And Puerto Rican Clothing

The Taino were the native people of Puerto Rico before the Spanish arrived, and their culture developed in the Caribbean. Although men did not wear any clothes, body paint and jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings were standard and often depicted social rank or religion. 

The natives made the jewelry from rocks, bones, feathers, and shells. Women wore skirts called ‘naguas’ when they became adults or married. Women of lower status wore short skirts while the high-class women wore full-length skirts. The women also wore jewelry similar to the men, and they had long hair.

The natives do not wear traditional clothing daily, but there are a few distinctive features today. One is the guayabera which is the traditional men’s shirt. The loose, buttoned shirts with slits on any side are still famous. Also, the hats are popularly known as Pavas and Panama. On other occasions, such as weddings, the natives wear traditional outfits. 

Traditional Outfits Worn During Major Festivals In Puerto Rico

Like every other country, Puerto Rico celebrates the following festivals.

Three Kings Day

In Puerto Rico, the Three Kings rule the Christmas season. Puerto Ricans celebrate Christmas, but they celebrate the most important festival on January 6th. It is christened the Three Kings Day, and the tradition requires children to gather grass and place it in a box at their bed’s foot so that the camels have something to eat when they come to visit. 

The natives exchange gifts such as gold, myrrh, and frankincense at this special festival. The Puerto Ricans celebrate the three wise men more than Jesus in Latin. 

As in the Bible, three men were drawn to Christ’s birth by a mysterious light, but they arrived late, which is why the natives celebrate the twelve days of Christmas following December 25th. During this festival, the natives wear the Jibaro traditional clothing.

San Sebastian Festival

The natives celebrate the festival to honor Saint Sebastian, who got killed because of his faith and became a martyr. The festival is observed in the third week of January and is an enormous party in San Juan. 

It is the biggest celebration, and San Sebastian Street gets packed with stalls, crowds, food, music, alcohol, art, and crafts shows and revelry. The natives celebrate the festival for five days and five nights. 

Approximately five hundred musicians and artists entertain the crowds while hundreds more dress up in costumes and masks to parade the streets. The natives wear the Bomba traditional clothing during the festival.

Aibonito Flower Festival 

The Puerto Ricans celebrate the festival in Aibonito, a small mountain town in Puerto Rico. The festival is the biggest flower festival and plant show in the country and the festival has many flowers on sale. 

It also has food stalls, plants stalls, and live music. The locals celebrate it in June and July, and thousands of guests come to the mountain town to check out the sale. Kids enjoy the festival as there are several rides for them.

During this celebration, most natives adorn their traditional clothes. 

Casals Festival

The Puerto Ricans have celebrated the festival since 1956, and Pablo Casals founded it. He was a famous cellist, conductor, and composer, and every year he welcomes extraordinary musical talents globally. He was in charge for eighteen years and shared his music with the world until he passed on in 1973. 

The natives still celebrate the festival and are recognized internationally for the musical offer and invited artists’ annotative quality that promotes cultural exchanges between Maestros. 

Many artists have been part of the festival for the past sixty-six years. It is a great festival that provides a powerful platform for talented artists and shapes their careers. 

Since its foundation, Pablo has positioned Puerto Rico as a mecca in music and cultural tourism. The most important musical institution is the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. The natives wear the Jibaro and Bomba traditional clothing during the festival. In this festival.

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