La Pollera, Festival Nacional de la Mejorana – Guararé Panama

The Pollera is the beautiful and greatly admired national dress of Panama.  There are many different stories of how the Pollera, which originated in Spain, made it’s way to Panama.  The most popular is that it was adapted from a gypsy dress worn in Spain at the time of the conquest of Peru and brought to Panama by the servants of the colonial families.  The Pollera usually consists of a blouse and a two-layered full skirt.  Accented with colorful ribbons, lace and embroidery the Pollera’s can cost from $200 to upwards of $2,000 dollars are made by hand and can take up to a year to make.

But what’s a fabulous dress without fabulous accessories…

The “tembleques” that adorn the wearer’s hair are exquisite.  A large tortoise shell comb embellished with pearls and gold is worn atop the head like a crown.  Surrounding the crown of the head (like a halo) you will find an assortment of beads and baubles.  Gracing the neck you’ll find large gold chains, coral rosaries, and ribbon chokers.

I tried my best to capture the beauty, color and detail of these women and their Pollera’s but the photos do not do them justice.  Take the time to visit any fiesta or major event anywhere in Panama and you will certainly find many of these beautiful dresses being worn by an equally exquisite Panamanian woman.