Colombia is a country with rich cultural heritage and great diversity within cultures. Broadly, there are three prominent cultures followed in Colombia in the three regions i.e. coastal regions, interior and the countryside. In spite of having different cultures, they all become one when facing any national event.
The history of Colombia
The beautiful coastal lands of Colombia were first discovered in 1499, which was later followed by a Spanish occupation for 3 centuries. This long occupation of Spain is the reason why there is a distinct influence of the Spanish culture to date in the culture and traditions of Columbia. Thus, there is no separate culture prevailing in Colombia, instead they have accepted the Spanish culture and there are various regional cultures within Colombia.
The culture of Colombia has been influenced by Spanish, African, Caribbean, American, European and Middle Eastern countries. Apart from them, the constant political changes, the globalization and urbanization have also brought about a number of changes in the culture. The fashion industry in Columbia too has undergone major changes from the ancient times.
The traditional Columbian hat called the ‘Sombrero Vueltiao’ is an integral part of Columbian culture. This hat is made from ‘Cana Flecha’ and was originally worn by the Columbian farmers for protection from the harsh sunlight, but later became a fashion accessory and is symbolic of Columbian culture. The hat was originally made by the Zenu tribe and can be seen worn by valleneto artists and cumbia dancers.
Traditional Columbian dress
The men and women are both seen wearing ‘ruanas’ during the cooler climate. A ‘ruana’ is basically a cape that is made of wool and is quite warm and cosy. During earlier times, the ruanas were made from un-dyed wool and were found only in the colour brown. However, now they can be found in a wide variety of colours.
The traditional peasant women of Colombia are found wearing ‘pañolones’ that are fringed shawls. During the festival time, the traditional dress worn by women is a round-neck blouse with laces on the edges teamed up with a long and flowery skirt called the ‘polleras’.
The ‘polleras’ are made from cotton and wool depending on the season and are a one-piece skirt. They are generally found in bright and vibrant colors. The skirt generally has layers or ruffles and also has rich embroidery or floral patterns on it.
The ruffles can be seen on the shoulders of the top too. The skirts have an inlaid yarn and the front and back of the top have a matching pompom. The waist of the skirt has a number of large ribbons that match well with the inlaid yarn. Women are seen wearing matching slippers with their polleras.
Along with the dress, they have a headgear made of beads that are attached with a spring to make the beads bounce when the women move. Over the years, the polleras has evolved to be a piece of heirloom that is passed from one generation to another and is made with great extravagance.