The History of Ponchos

The poncho, a well-known sleeveless garment with unsewn sides and a space for the head to pass through, has its roots in South America along the Andes Mountains. A poncho is an outer garment designed to help keep the body warm. A rain poncho is made. Ponchos are considered garments and have been used by the Native peoples of the Andes because times. It is believed to come from the Quechua puchu or Mapudungun pontro even though the origin of the word poncho isn't clear. Popular among all the people that have lived across the Andes the poncho is a very important icon for some people that are native.

The Mapuche people historically occupied half of the territory we know today as Chile and Argentina, but their presence has significantly declined and they now occupy about ten percent of the Chilean and Argentine populations respectively. Although there is contention concerning the exact origin of the garment, it was the Mapuche who spread what we know today as the poncho throughout Spain and Latin America.

The Mapuche are weavers and created a range of items as well as ponchos, including dresses, headbands and shawls. Slitting a hole in a length of fabric which is then placed around the neck, allowing the material to drape over the shoulders itself makes the poncho.

Latest uses for the poncho include rain expulsion - thin polyethylene waterproof cloaks in the poncho shape are worn to protect against the rain. A garment depending on the poncho was used during the Civil War as raincoats for US troops. And of course as a fashion item, ponchos are a prominent style piece in western nations during autumn and winter. Produced in a selection of fabrics and designs and Popular among women of all ages, the poncho is among those must-haves in the fashion world.

Having been worn by their people for hundreds of years, the poncho is closely linked to Mexican culture In the shape of the Sarape with motifs that are Iberian and pre-Hispanic. This vibrant cloth is considered an iconic emblem of Mexico. The Mexican poncho has two distinct styles.

Even though the poncho was formerly a conventional clothing item born out of the necessity to keep warm and protect the body from harsh weather conditions while still having the freedom of movement to continue working comfortably, it is now more frequently worn as a fashion accessory and can be seen in the majority of style outlets. Ponchos have also been drawn to public attention when worn by renowned faces; for instance, the actor Clint Eastwood famously wore a poncho from the 1964 film "A Fistful of Dollars" and more recently the former President George Bush donned a traditional Peruvian poncho alongside the then Japanese Prime Minister and South Korean President at the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation in 2008.

Paradoxically, even though in history only men were permitted to wear the more lavish designs of ponchos, it appears that girls are taking their revenge by wearing bright and intricately patterned ponchos. The poncho continues to be a popular item of clothing and its journey from South America to the west is complete.

To see more about ponchos, make sure you click on those sites: German blog concerning Ponchos and also Wikipedia on Ponchos

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