The sombrero is undoubtedly one of the most iconic representations of Mexican culture. However, while the image of this wide-brimmed hat is highly familiar to many, its roots are not as well-known. Like Mexican cuisine, the sombrero also has a rich history that spans centuries. To help you understand its role in local tradition, here is a quick overview of sombrero history.
History of sombrero
Sombreros date back to as early as the 15th century in Spain, with their name coming from the Spanish word Sombra, which means shade. While it can be hard to pinpoint their exact origin, some say they came about when mestizo workers sought a solution to protect their eyes and faces from the sun. In effect, they became their shade that helped them work under the heat. That said, there continue to be many debates on where they truly originated. For example, another idea is that they emerged even earlier, in the 13th century from Mongolian cowboys and horseback riders who wore them as a shade from the hot climate. But then, it was only in the 15th century when the mestizos in Mexico adopted the sombreros.
Types of Sombreros
The traditional sombrero is probably what you are most familiar with, which is lightweight and made of straw. The standard design comes in a single colour, but you may also find more festive variants with different colours. Generally, this sombrero is the largest, so it is often only worn by Mariachi brands or during special celebrations.
Beyond this, other types of sombreros are more suitable for everyday wear. For example, quinciano sombreros are also made with straw or other cheap materials. However, they have smaller brims, so they are an excellent choice for outdoor work.
For something more durable, you can opt for a diechinueve sombrero. It often comes with intricate designs and weaves patterns, making them more unique and distinct. In most cases, you can customize the design to match your taste. However, if you want something even stronger, there are veintiuno sombreros that are thicker and have more elegant designs.
Finally, veintisiete sombreros are the most elevated and complex type of sombrero. These are made with a thickly woven material that allows you to fold the hat and fit it into your pocket. This sombrero is much more complicated than the others, so much that it can take a month to create one from scratch.
Of course, many new designs have also emerged through the years. Now, you will find many modern sombreros worn on beaches and other places. In a way, they have become fashion icons of their own.
Sombrero history is undoubtedly rich, so it should be no surprise that these hats are an important symbol of Mexican culture. While the media often comically portrays them, the truth is that these hats are more functional and valuable than many might realize. Aside from being stylish, they are also great to wear while living in a hot climate.
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