October 16, 2014

1300 PANAMA - Pollera de gala (Festive polleras)

There are many traditions that have been adopted as characteristic of Panama's nationality, but among all of these probably no single expression stands higher than the pollera, the women's national dress. Along with the other traditional Latin American dresses, the pollera descended from the Spanish dress of the 16th and 17th centuries, although it's hard to indicated its exact point of origin. Behold what wrote Nieves de Hoyos, director of the Museo del Pueblo Espanol, in an article published in the Revista de Indias of December, 1963: "The origin is in Spain, but not from the regional Spanish dress, which contrary to general opinion did not develop its current form until the eighteenth century or later. The pollera in Panama evolved from the Spanish feminine dress of the seventeenth century, not from the court dress with its grand hoops covered with velvets and embroidered silks embellished with laces, gold, and silver threads - the dress which immediately comes to mind to most people because they have frequently seen the pictures of Velazquez. In the seventeenth century, as in any other time, contemporary with the beautiful court dresses there was the daily house dress, which in this epoch was generally white with a full skirt of two or three ruffles embroidered or appliqued in floral designs. This description is, simply, the pollera."

The original pollera consists of a ruffled blouse that is worn off the shoulders. The skirt is on the waistline with gold buttons. The skirt also has ruffle, so that when she lifts it up, it looks like a peacock's tail or a mantilla fan. The designs on the skirt and blouse are usually flowers or birds. Two large matching mota (pom poms) are on the front and back, four ribbons are hanging from the back and the front on the waist line, caberstrillos (five chains of gold) are hanging from the neck to the waist, a gold cross or medallion on a black ribbon is worn as a choker, and a silk purse is worn the waistline. Zaricillos (earrings) are usually gold or coral, and to complete the outfit, the female wears slippers which match the color of her pollera. Her hair is usually worn in a bun, held with three large gold combs that have some pearls, and is worn like a crown. The best pollera can usually cost up to ten thousand dollars, and may take a year to complete. The men also wear traditional clothing. Their outfits consist of white cotton shirts, trousers and woven straw hat. This traditional clothing can be worn in parades, where the females and males do a traditional dance. The females do a gentle sway and twirl their skirts, while the men hold their hats in their hands and dance behind the females.

A pollera is made with a cambric or fine linen. The color of the pollera is always white, and it is usually about thirteen yards of material. Today, there are different types of polleras; the pollera de gala consists of a short sleeved ruffle skirt blouse, two full length skirts and a petticoat. The girls wear tembleques in their hair - a gold and tortoiseshell comb with pearls in it. Gold coins and jewelry are added to the outfit. The pollera montuna is a daily dress, with a blouse, a skirt with a solid color, a single gold chain, and pendant earrings. The hair piece is a natural flower in the hair. This pollera is slightly different from the rest, because instead of an off-the-shoulder blouse, the females wear a fitted white jacket, shoulder pleats, and a flared hem.

About the stamps

The stamp, issued on March 25, 2002, depicts Mireya Moscoso, Panama's first female president, serving from 1999 to 2004.

The Pollera of Panama - angelfire.com
Panama - Wikipedia
Pollera - Wikipedia

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Sent from Panama City (Panama), on 01.09.2014

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