Traditional Clothes of Panama


Panama became independent from Spain on November 28, 1821.  Shortly afterwards, the new nation decided to become part of Colombia, since it’s economy was too weak to survive alone.

After being neglected by Colombia and aided by the United States, Panama decided to separate itself from Colombia on November 3, 1903.  The following year, the United States started the construction of the Panama Canal.  It was inaugurated on August 15, 1914, the same year the First World War broke out in Europe.

November is considered Month of the Motherland (Mes de la Patria).  Both women and men wear folkloric clothes that date back to the days when Panama was a colony of Spain.  Such is the case of the “basquiña”.

The basquiña is considered a daily garment used to work at home.  The pollera was the formal garment to proudly exhibit  at parties and formal ceremonies by women, specially during the celebrations of November 3rd, and November 28th.

The barquiña is a blouse of fine linen cloth, embroidery voil or opal, silhouetted body, high neck and 3/4 sleeves which ends in “ruchas”

Below is a picture of Paola, one of the four “Twisters” wearing a typical white basquiña.  Following are several pictures of this traditional garment still used in Panama during the Month of the Motherland.  Here we go.

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This is Paola, one of the four “Twisters” wearing a traditional white blouse called “basquiña”.  Photograph by ©Omar Upegui R.
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Photograph by ©Omar Upegui R.
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Photograph by ©Omar Upegui R.
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Photograph by ©Omar Upegui R.
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Buttons imitating white pearls decorate a Panamanian “basquiña”.  Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

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5 thoughts on “Traditional Clothes of Panama”

  1. They’re very much like the dresses common here for first Communions or Confirmation. The fabrics are wonderful, and the details, too. A white summer dress always was necessary when I was younger, too. I still like white, and lace combined in clothing.

    1. It is a small world, isn’t it? The U.S. was a British colony and Panama was a Spanish colony, yet both countries share dresses that are pretty much the same. That is very interesting to me. We wear different clothes for our first communion or confirmation ceremonies.

      Girls wear white dresses and boys wear white suits with white ties. And of course the classical “Libro de Catecismo” and a white rosary. I have these memories quite vivid inside my head, even though it happened a long, long time ago.

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