Talk Thursday ~ Las Polleras – Parte 1

The Desfile de las Mil Polleras de Las Tablas (Las Tablas Parade of  a 1,000 Polleras) is among one of my favourite events in our region.  Last year I was still too ill to go and see it but this year we’re hoping to go. I’ve written about the pollera before but I found this video that shows all the beautiful (and expensive) gold jewelry that goes into creating the traditional pollera.

A pollera can cost between $3,000.00 and $10,000.00 depending on the quality.  It consists of a blouse and two tiered full wide skirt with a petticoat underneath.  There are many types of polleras varying by purpose and region.  The pollera has a number of accessories most importantly the headdress and the jewelry.  Women wear an embellished golden comb in the center of the head surrounded by side combs and tembleques; beautiful pins resembling flowers and made of beads, pearls and/or fish scales.  The jewelry includes golden earrings, mosquetas/flowers made of gold and pearls pinned to the blouse and many necklaces such as a choker/ tapa hueso, a rosary, a flat gold chain/cadena chata, a fragile guachapali, the cabastrillo, the escapulario, and the media naranja among others.  The entire set is often worth thousands of dollars and they are family heirlooms inherited through the women of the family.

This video shows the order of jewelry worn with a pollera.

First the blouse is put on.

Earrings – These are usually in same style as the choker and bracelet.

Choker – Used to cover the dimple in the throat, used to enhance the neck when there is a large neckline on the dress.  A ribbon of velvet or black satin with a with a cross or medal is worn with the pollera montuna.

Flat chain – Made in small, flat links. This necklace can have a coin at the end or a fish with connected scales.

Witch chain – Named because its links form a “Z”.  This chain is very long and the ends have chimes and filigree.

Solitary chain – Or single chain.  The links look like the tapeworm and does not have a hook to attach it to the neck. It is accompanied by a broach usually put to one side, once on the pollera so that the chain and will not fall.

Broaches/pins – Used to fasten the chains on the shirt of the pollera.

Necklaces made with different types of medals and/or coins.

The following denote religious necklaces:  The Rosary, Salomónica (Solomon amulet for success and health, modeled after Solomonic columns in the shape of a corkscrew) and the Escapulario (Sacred Heart of Jesus, Jesus’ divine love for humanity).

Guachapalí or Nugget of Melon –   This chain is very fragile; and consists of small decorated pieces crimped to each other by tapes of gold.  This is the weakest chain and is above the others so it does not break from the weight.

Mosqueta – This pin is made to emulate a flower out of semi-precious stones such as corals or turquoise and pearls.   These are made in a concentric form, with in 10 carat gold. Placed under the pom-pom in the province of Los Santos.

The Bracelets – Made of gold, they can be cuffs or gold coins.  Not mandatory, but they are usually used for more formal occasions.

Related posts from the campo:

Desfile de las Mil Polleras 
La Festival de las Carretas


About indacampo

You'll find me at blogging about Panama...and other things.
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5 Responses to Talk Thursday ~ Las Polleras – Parte 1

  1. We were in Las Tablas for the July Pollera festival in 2014 and were captivated by the gorgeous dresses, jewelry, dancing and of course the beautiful women who wore the traditional dresses.
    I’m so glad you explained the accessories – when they were added the whole ensemble was unforgettable. A close look at the dresses easily explained why these dresses can be thousands of dollars because of the hundreds and thousands of hours and fine craftsmanship used to create them. The Pollera festival was one of the high points of our time in Panama. Anita

    • indacampo says:

      I love these type of parades. It’s a true celebration of culture and folklore. The amount of gold on some of the women is incredible. I like the Mountain Pollera the best though with the sombrero campesino. 🙂

  2. Really fascinating and elaborately beautiful!

    • indacampo says:

      There are some true artisans that take great pride in their work in our region. It’s understandable why a true pollera is so expensive. 🙂

  3. Pingback: A Fun Night in Boquete and Pollera Dancers | The Panama Adventure

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