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Rebozos – September celebrations! 30 favorite things about Mexico

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Wool, cotton, silk or synthetic. Solid, striped, patterned or multicolored. To be worn as scarves or shawls, Rebozos are definitely a Mexican classic contribution to world fashion and one of the most unique garments in Mexico.

The most famous rebozos / shawls are  handmade of silk or artisela (a silk-like cellulose thread), colored with natural dyes, and woven on backstrap looms the most famous being in Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosí to the  State of Michoacán known for its shiny striped rebozos, made from cotton and artisela. In Tenancingo, State of Mexico, artists create laborcitas (rebozos that require considerable labor), and combinados (rebozos that have a combination of complex designs).

Now the usage has changed, and even while indigenous women still use it in its original functionality  rebozos are very popular as a fashion accessory. Frida Kahlo frequently painted portraits of herself wearing rebozos and expect to see our First Lady wearing one on dia del grito. The rebozo has also been the subject of song and poetry.

Traditionally, rebozos are made by two or more persons. One person, the weaver, weaves the fabric on a backstrap  loom which is of ancient Mesoamerican origin and is used mostly by indigenous women in areas where traditional clothing is still made by hand. The loom is based on six pieces of wood and the warp threads themselves. One end is tied to a tree and the other to the waist of the weaver. The fabric is woven using the wooden pieces to pass the yarn, tighten the weave, and form the design. It is an an exacting art form. The second person, the “empuntador“, makes the fringe. Fringes are created by knotting and mixing the fibers at the ends of the rebozo, so that patterns are created.  Men are in charge of weaving, while women make the fringes. It can take up to 4 months to make a single rebozo.

It is known that the finest silk rebozos be passed through a woman’s wedding ring without getting stuck.

During September, LivePuntaMita.com will be sharing with you 30 things we love most about Mexico, in honor of this month’s Independence celebrations. Click here to view the complete list.