The Thousand Pollera Parade

La pollera Congo

La pollera Congo

Everything is ready for the Thousand Pollera Parade organized by Panama’s Tourism Authority (ATP) in Las Tablas, Los Santos province each year. Local participants, domestic visitors and foreign tourists all gather to pay tribute to Panama’s traditional female costume.

Recent reports indicate that, so far, over 10,000 people have registered to take part in this traditional parade, which begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 10 starting from the Government office building in Las Tablas, ending at Plaza Praga.

Jesús Sierra Victoria, ATP Administrator, said that this traditional parade “is an important showcase that projects us nationally and internationally as a country. It shows a country that is a respectful custodian of its colloquial traditions that form an important part of our national identity.”

La pollera de gala

La pollera de gala

The first Thousand Pollera Parade was held in the capital of Panama in 2003. This is the fourth occasion that is being held in the city of Las Tablas.

Aris Acosta, who is producing the event, said that “this parade confirms that the Panamanian pollera is a strong and attractive product which can serve to attract national and international tourism to the country.”

The Panamanian pollera

The pollera is the national female costume of Panama. There are different variations, according to the region. They are also classified according to how they are used.

• The “basquiña” skirt is used for women’s daily chores. This style of dress is adorned with the “solitary” gold chain, the “ducktail” gold chain and earrings.

La pollera chiricana

La pollera chiricana

• The pollera de Montuna Santeña is worn by peasant women who descend from the highlands to join the traditional festivities of the people. The outfit is appropriate for evening wear. For daytime, a painted hat is worn, the hair is braided and a few “tembleques” may be used as well. At night, the hat is replaced with golden combs.

• The Gala Santeña Pollera is the most elaborated style of dress. Hairstyles for this outfit are worn with golden combs and ”tembleques.”

• The pollera from the province of Herrera is the white lace Montuna Ocueña. This dress is accompanied by a full head of “tembleques,” or a white hat with braids and flowers.

• Women from the province of Veraguas also wear the Montuna Ocueña, as the region shares a border with Herrera.

• In the province of Coclé, in the region of Natá and Penonomé, the pollera is worn with “tembleques” of bright colors and white jasmine flowers.

• In Chiriquí, the pollera is worn with white petticoat skirts and “basquiña” skirts.

• In Colón, the pollera is made of a full skirt with floral patterns in printed cotton fabric. On the head, dry flowers called “canitolendas” are worn. Long necklaces and fancy trimmings are worn around the neck and feet are bare.