17 junio, 2024

6 Typical Costumes of Chiapas and their Characteristics

The typical costumes of Chiapas they are the color and the very essence of the inherited Mayan culture. This clothing has evolved over time, thus achieving great diversification in terms of the type of garment and style.

Although artisan production has grown considerably and techniques have been changing, traditional methods and materials for its manufacture are still preserved.

The products of this textile market have both local and foreign demand from tourism. You can see simple garments designed for daily wear and more complex garments for tourists looking to take home a souvenir from Chiapas.

Women are the main cogs in this market, since men generally work in agriculture, another very important branch of the Chiapas economy.

The highest concentration of these products can be found in San Cristóbal de las Casas, located in the center of the state of Chiapas.

The typical costumes of Chiapas are very similar to those of the Guatemalan market, since both regions inherit the Mayan culture. In the typical costumes of Chiapas, colors abound and share certain patterns of nature, such as flowers, butterflies and some other animals.

The main typical costumes of Chiapas

1- Huipil

The huipil (or hipil) is an ornate dress or blouse that used to be used for religious ceremonies. It represented distinction of ethnic groups and social positions in the pre-Columbian period.

The colors used for the details and embroidery had different meanings. For example, the cardinal points were represented as follows: north was white, east was red, west was black, and south was yellow.

In addition to the cardinal points, these colors were also used to represent stages of life, emotions, food, among other aspects.

White symbolized the eWith hope, red was associated with power and blood, black with death, yellow with corn, and green with royalty.

The arrival of the Spanish on the American continent made the manufacture of this product evolve, introducing brocade and the pedal loom as techniques.

They also began to work with other materials such as wool and silk, since the indigenous people used cotton and henequen.

Although its origins are in the Mexican south, this garment is currently used throughout Mexico, and each indigenous community has its own style or design.

2- Chiapas costume

Originally from the city of Chiapa de Corzo, these costumes have a clear Spanish influence. During the colonial era, many materials imported from the Europeans were used by indigenous women to decorate their dresses.

This outfit had many modifications over time, there were around fifteen different models. They went from being black and white dresses to being completely black, always with their respective decorations.

It is believed that the black background color represents the jungle and the colorful flowers refer to the diverse flora.

This outfit consists of a satin blouse with a semicircle neckline and a tulle veil with embroidered flowers. The skirt is black, long and also made of satin.

3- Poncho from Chiapas

The poncho is a typical South American garment; however, this artisan product can also be found in the Chiapas market made by local artisans.

The poncho is a thick cloth cut in a rectangular shape with a hole in the middle where the head is inserted.

Although at first glance it looks like an aesthetic accessory, it is used as a coat and also allows free movement of the arms.

The origin of the poncho is still doubtful: some say that it was part of the habitual clothing of the natives and was later adopted by the Creoles. Others associate these garments with ecclesiastical clothing and other ancient robes.

4- Typical costumes of the parachios

The parachios are dancers of the Fiesta Grande that takes place in January of each year in Chiapa de Corzo. His clothing is made up of a white shirt, black pants and a saltillo serape.

They wear a red sash at the waist, an embroidered scarf falling over the pants and a plarge hook on the head tied to the neck.

In addition, they wear a wooden mask covered with white or pink lacquer to imitate the skin of the European, more precisely the Spanish.

5- Costumes in Tojolabal

The Tojolabal tribe is distributed between the municipalities of Altamirano and Margaritas and their language is spoken by almost 40,000 inhabitants throughout Mexico.

The women’s clothing is made up of short-sleeved manta blouses embroidered up to the neck, and shiny satin skirts with embroidery that they sew themselves. As accessories they wear earrings, necklaces and a headscarf.

Women’s clothing preserves culture more than men’s. In fact, only older men occasionally wear the traditional garments.

For example, huaraches (sandals) have been replaced by boots, or hats by caps.

5- Chamula

The name of this clothing is due to the fact that it is used in San Juan Chamula, an indigenous town located in the heights.

The clothing of the men stands out, who wear a white blanket shirt-pants and a poncho made of black or white wool on top. To fix the poncho, they use a red sash tied at the waist. In turn, it is common for men to wear straw hats.

It is a distinctive sign among its inhabitants, since the men who wear these garments have a certain authority over their fellow citizens.

modern dress

The constant changes in fashion that occur day by day have given rise to the appearance of modern products with touches of aboriginal culture.

These products are not manufactured by the indigenous people, they are products belonging to the global market that have complements of the pre-Columbian regional culture as added value to stand out in a certain market segment.


Castro, J. (2006). Historical readings of Chiapas. Mexico: Government of Chiapas.
Chiapas Institute of Culture. (1988). Regional costumes of Chiapas. Mexico: Constitutional Government of the State of Chiapas, Chiapas Institute of Culture.
Donald Bush Cordry, Dorothy M. Cordry. (1988). Costumes and fabrics of the Zoque Indians of Chiapas. Texas: Illustrated.
Alban, J. & Ruz, M. (1995). Chiapas: the paths of another history. Mexico, DF Guadalajara: Center for Mayan Studies of the Institute for Philological Research and Humanities Coordination (UNAM) Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology Center for Mexican and Central American Studies University of Guadalajara.
Government of the State of Chiapas. (1990). Chiapas costumes and fabrics. Mexico, DF: Editorial Group Miguel Angel Porrúa.

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