Sunday, May 5, 2013

Feliz Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. That event is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I thought it would be fun to take a look at traditional Mexican styled clothing and what one might wear to these festivities. Traditional Mexican clothing for women reveals a world of vivid, intricately crafted garments with European and native elements. The clothes are made with specifically favored materials and embrace bold colors. Here's some fantastic examples:

Hand Painted Circle Skirts

Hand Painted Mexican Circle Skirt
This lovely 1950s Mexican hand painted skirt has a fantastic beach scene. 

Hand Painted Mexican Circle Skirt
There is such detail in this amazing 50s hand painted skirt.

As an item that has become known to most northerners as a traditional piece of Mexican fashion, this classic skirt has only recently been adopted by native Latin Americans. Originally created to be sold to tourists who wanted a wearable memento of the their travels, these hand-painted skirts were thought of as something only worn by American visitors. They were typically 100% cotton and designed to reflect the culture of Mexico, using architecture, nature, historic Mexican art and people.

Puebla Dress

Mexican Puebla "Boho" Dress
This lovely embroidered Puebla dress has already been sold.

Mexican Puebla "Boho" Dress
You can find this darling puebla dress here.

A Puebla dress is traditionally loose flowing, made of cotton and embroidered with vibrant thread; it could also be beaded. The dress could be embroidered with flowers, animals, abstract figures or national Mexican symbols, such as an eagle clutching a snake or a prickly pear cactus. Although traditionally white, Puebla dresses can come in other colors, especially vibrant hues.

Mexican Folk Dance Dress

Mexican Folk Dance Dress
This fantastic dress can be found here.

Mexican Folk Dance Dress
You can find this lovely dress here.

The Mexican folk dance dress is a ruffled dress that includes enough fabric to make six regular dresses. While dancing, the women hold up the sides of the dress and move their hands quickly. This outfit is still used by folk dancers in performances and during carnivals.


Green Velvet Huipil
Green velvet huipil can be found here.
Mexican Embroidered Huipil
Look at the fantastic embroidery work on this huipil.
The huipil (pronounced "wee-peel") is a sleeveless, tunic-like garment. As with many other cultures that use garments to identify their specific areas of origin, the distinctive design on a huipil can distinguish the community that the wearer belongs to. The designs may also convey the wearer's marital status or personal beliefs. A ceremonial huipil is one worn by wives of religious figures in the community, as well as statues of saints.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I don't know about you ladies, but I am in love with those circle skirts.  The intricate detailed hand painting is true art.  If I owned one of these, I don't think I would ever want to take it off!


  1. Great post! Being of Mexican decent people often ask me if I celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I don't because my family was born and raised in the US. We remember the history but don't get overly involved in it. I do like seeing the celebrations on Spanish tv o n Sept 16th. They have awesome dance numbers and even better fireworks displays. I'm a sucker for fireworks.

    1. I learned the history of Cinco de Mayo because I have a Mexican son-in-law. We were talking about having a celebration and I asked him how they celebrated back home and he didn't know what I was talking about. lol I had always heard it was their Independence day but started researching it after that.

  2. Be still my heart, these pieces are incredible! And so timely for me, too. Without even realizing yesterday was the eve of Cinco de Mayo (my internal calendar is so off at the moment, as I continue to recoup from surgery), I was hunting around etsy and eBay last night looking at vintage Mexican garments, because I really don't have many such pieces in my wardrobe and would love to add more (didn't find any that I couldn't pass up yet, but it's a search I'll be sticking with for sure - especially because it's high time I finally got my first hand painted circle skirt!).

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Oh I do love a great Mexican circle skirt!


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