WHAT IS A REBOZO?
The rebozo is a classic Mexican garment/shawl that originates from the Mesoamerican community. The word “rebozo” stems from the Spanish word “rebozar” which means “to wrap”.
The rebozo was the result of the fusion of the spanish “mantillas” & the pre- hispanic “tilmas”.
But garments very similar to the rebozos already existed in ancestral times. Back then, the people of the land of Mexico used to weave fabrics from local materials (such as ixtle, wool and native heritage cotton) with a backstrap loom.
There is historical evidence of the use of the mamatl & ayates that were a big part of the Mesoamerican ancestral culture. They were used similar to the rebozo and some also already had fringes on them.
Traditional rebozos are either handwoven from cotton, wool, silk, or rayon. Nowadays they are mostly woven on the pedal loom. What differs the rebozo from a plain sheet / blanket are its beautiful hand knotted fringes at the end.
Rebozos come in different lengths and widths, but what they all have in common is that they all have some kind of beautiful pattern and fringe. Usually they are between 1.5m -3m long.
In Mexico, all through Central America and South America, rebozos are used for all manner of things such as a knapsack, a cold weather warp, a baby carrier, protection from sunshine, or folded on the head to carry large and heavy objects.
During the Mexican Revolution, Mexican women used rebozos to smuggle weapons in and out of enemy lines. The rebozo can be seen as a symbol of the indigenous resistance. It stands for the capacity of adaptation and self sustainability, and as a tool to transmit and maintain local economy, cosmovision and traditions.
Mexican midwives have been using the rebozo for centuries to help women in pregnancy, labor, postpartum - and beyond.
The traditional ones are up to 6 ft long. There are heavier and lightweight rebozos. Taller people need longer rebozos - like 9 ft.
Depending on the region it originates from, the rebozo will appear in different colors and textures and will have different levels of importance to the community they are used in.
Women are handed one when they get married to symbolize their passage from maiden to woman.
They use it to support the body during physical labor, pregnancy, birth, and to baby wear.
Stillborn babies are buried traditionally in rebozos that are treated with herbs, herb waters & and tinctures.
The rebozo ties everything together - life and death, families, marriages, mothers and their babies and even the human to god, when used during prayer.
A poem about the rebozo
Es parte de mi esencia
alimenta mi vanidad,
me brinda mi seguridad
y me sirve para arrullar
a mi hijo immaginario.
también sirve de cadena
para qien me queria amar,
que me envuelva, cual sudario ...
cuando tenga que marchar
Efren Romero Acuna
- De la serie "Poemas inspirados en Frida Kahlo".
Is part of my essence
feeds my vanity,
provides me with my security
and serves to lull to sleep
my imaginary son.
It also serves as a chain
for those who wanted to love me,
to wrap me, like a shroud ...
when I have to leave
Efren Romero Acuna
- From the series "Poems inspired by Frida Kahlo"
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