The “Rebozo purepecha” has deeper meaning

The purepecha rebozo is more than a piece to protect the woman from the cold. It is a symbol of their culture, identity, femininity and marital status which they carry with pride and elegance.

Although this traditional dressing piece has been part of the daily life and ritual of the indigenous population of Michoacán, its use varies according to the different stages a woman goes through.

This issue has been of interest and study for Alberto Flores Marcos, a student at the Intercultural Indigenous University of Michoacán, who argues that the design, preparation and use of rebozo have changed as new generations and trends arise.

Before, he says, indigenous women used only a white blanket to cover themselves with the cold or the rays of the sun and, after the arrival of the Spaniards, the implementation of the waist loom and the different needs, had to elaborate a textile more useful to cover their heads.

"Thus, rebozo is born and begins to be a tradition in the indigenous communities in Michoacan," says the 20-year-old, who is originally from the municipality of Chilchota, Michoacan.

In addition to being personal ornament, the "shawl" or "blanket of a thousand colors", as it is also known in other ethnic groups, is used as a playful instrument, of loading materials, transporting babies and so on.

Flores Marcos emphasizes that the cultural richness of use and colors is also reflected in the marital status of women of indigenous populations, both on the shores of Lago de Pátzcuaro and in the Sierra Purépecha, the Ciénega de Zacapu and la Cañada de los Eleven Towns.

Explain to Notimex that single girls and young women wear eye-catching colors - green, yellow, red, pink or fiusha - married women wear more discreet or conservative shades - purple or blue - and older ladies should wear dark clothing.

While its placement on the body will depend on the moment and space of the child's life, young, adult or old. "This also allows women to express their sentimental situation," he says.

He comments that the single woman uses the rebozo to cover her back and the ends wrap them in her arms and then hold them with her hands, but she may become the "courtship garment" when she is looking for a person of sex opposite.

Those who are married or living in a free union must use the garment to cover the upper part of their body, from the waist to the chest, and the mouth when crossing a point in the direction of the left shoulder.

When losing their husbands, the widow wraps her head and part of her face as a mourning symbol. Regardless of age, they must also use dark color in these situations.

Flores Marcos states this is still their tradition, being embroidered in wool, cotton or a mixture of both, but today can be seen with additional elements, such as feathers of different birds, figures in the beards and the combination of various colors.

"It has changed compared to the traditional textile and we also see that it has ceased to be used gradually, however, we believe that most women keep one among their wardrobe," he emphasizes.

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