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The Dressing of an Empollerada (Part I)


[The lady's hair is divided in two pigtails.]

The lady's hair is divided in two pigtails.


[Another view of one of the pigtails]

Another view of one of the pigtails


[One of the empolleradas, helping to put some makeup to another one]

One of the empolleradas, helping to put some makeup to another one


[Every pollera must have two of these wool balls, one in front and one in the back of the shirt.]

Every pollera must have two of these wool balls, one in front and one in the back of the shirt.


[Girl wearing the pollera shirt, but not yet the tembleques and jewels]

Girl wearing the pollera shirt, but not yet the tembleques and jewels


[Gold buttons for fastening the petticoats]

Gold buttons for fastening the petticoats


By:

Tamara Ponce
2006-10-31

Every year, for our Independence Day, November the 3rd, PanamaTipico.com publishes a special article about a very important topic about Panamanian culture or history. This year, we are paying homage to our national dress, the Pollera, with a series of three articles depicting the process of putting on all the parts and accesories of a pollera.

The first thing is to comb the hair of the lady in two pigtails, one at each side of the head. The pigtails are tied in position at the height of the ears. This is very important because later the tembleques need to be fixed to the hair at this position.

Next, the makeup is applied. It must be very expressive and it must convey joy and freshness. Some empolleradas like to apply their makeup before wearing the shirt and some later. It is a matter of personal taste. Most women do apply their makeup before the head accesories such as the tembleques, because of their weight.

Next, the shirt and the petticoats are donned. The shirt is adorned with two balls of wool, one on the front and one on the back.

There must be two petticoats, one that is plainer and is worn inside, and the other one is finer, for being worn outside, but covered by the skirt. They are fastened by several gold buttons tied with a string.

On our next article about polleras, we will see the different chains and other jewels an empollerada must wear and some of the head accesories.


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