The Land of Sunshine

159 The Land of SunshineThis is only one of the nicknames of the United Mexican States. The country is hugged by the USA and Guatemala & Belize and its other borders are the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. It’s not a small country at all as it ranks the 5th among the largest AMS countries in terms of the occupied territory.

Apart from this, Mexico is really a multi-cultural country with rich pre-Columbian history, influential Spanish period as well interesting post-independence history. All this mix of Hispanic, Anglo and Indian cultures gave the country unique heritage as well as they affected positively its music and art. The Mexican land has awe-inspiring and wonderful oceanic, sea and highland landscapes and panoramas dotted by numerous plains of cacti, especially along the borders. Last but not least, chilli peppers were domesticated for the first time in Mexico about 6000 years ago and after Columbus’ discovery of the New World they were brought to Europe and then to Asia. I will stop here and I won’t dig deeper in such general facts. Instead, I will focus on three bold colourful and shiny symbols of the Land of Sunshine.

Talavera pottery inherited from the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula and the Island of Sicily is unique and is typical for Mexico mainly. It was brought to the New World by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century and flourished in the town of Puebla owing to two facts. Firstly, there was a great abundance of high-quality natural clay there. Secondly, Moorish Talavera pottery techniques were blended with the age-old primitive firing and colouring techniques of the local artisans who had inherited them from the Olmecs through the centuries. Nowadays, the brightly coloured earthenware is famous worldwide and is typical symbol of Mexico and its city of Puebla.

Mexican blankets are the other distinguished and typical product for Mexico (and also of Southwestern cultures). The weaving of such blankets started as far back as 2500 years ago and ancient people used the wool of churro sheep by spinning yarn and using primitive looms. This wool was specific because it could grab easily the strong dyes. On the other hand, ancient people mixed up various dyes. As a result of all this, multi-colour tapestries of stripes with rich, vivid and vibrant colours were created. These weaving techniques and colourful blankets have been produced up to now. Their function varies and they can be used either as mats for sitting or sleeping on the floor, or as ponchos worn both by men and women (normally, they are called serapes or sarapes and people drape them across the shoulders).

Mexican clothing was completed by a sombrero before the Revolution period in the country. Today the Mexican are “sombreroless” or if these hats (extra-wide brimmed, with a pointed crown and chin string to hold it in place) are worn, they will be attributes to Mexican mariachi (folk musicians) and charros (traditional Mexican horsemen). As a traditional Mexican symbol, sombreros are used in the sombrero dance known as jarabe tapatio. The dance has a plot and it tells the love story between a poor charro and the lady of his heart. While attempting to win her heart he tosses his most precious belonging (i.e. his sombrero) onto the ground. If or when the lady accepts his love, she starts the dance on the brim of the sombrero. Apart from these folk purposes, a sombrero gives protection from the sun to its wearer because it covers his/her head, neck and shoulders. And last thing here. A funny fact related to sombreros is that in the past they were used as “bags”, “rucksacks” or “suitcases” (call it as you wish) as people stored food and other objects in them during their long, long journeys.

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2 thoughts on “The Land of Sunshine

  1. Pingback: Nei Caraibi (In the Caribbeans) | Smile...Laugh...Travel...Love...Be yourself...Enjoy Life

  2. Pingback: The Enigma of Mesoamerica | Smile...Laugh...Travel...Love...Be yourself...Enjoy Life

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