The Panama Hat is an absolutely impressive headdress. This woven hat is made from the so-called Toquilla straw. The word "toquilla" comes from the Spanish and the real place of origin of the Panama Hat is ...
Did you know that the Panamá hat is not actually from Panamá? If you ask a resident of Panamá, he will probably tell you about a big misunderstanding in this regard, because the Panamá hat is actually not, as the name says from Panamá, but it comes from Ecuador.
In 1912, however, it was the then US President Roosevelt who returned from his Panamá trip with just such a hat and so the handmade straw hat became famous in the first place.
Until 1977 the USA administered the entire canal zone and so all kinds of things could be declared and shipped on by customs stamp. So it was then also with the hats from Ecuador and since then they carried wrongly the name "Panamá hat".
However, a majority of these hats are not created in huge factories, but are woven by hand in Ecuador by the famous hat weavers themselves. Often it is also the case that the respective hat weaver himself cultivates the plants in order to use their leaves. During production, the stalks of the toquilla straw are then briefly boiled in water and then hung in the shade to dry. After the drying process, the leaves are fanned out by hand and with fingernails (or a special metal comb) and the thin fibers are pulled out. The thinner the fibres, the higher the quality of the hat. Now these fibres are bleached with sulphur vapours and after drying again they are woven. The hat weaver always starts from the "crown centre" and now links several fibres together by hand, whereby a distinction is made again between different weaving types in the complex production process.
There is the classic version, the Brisavariante, which resembles a diamond pattern, a crocheted version, a "Fancy" version, where different colored straw is used or also a weave which is called "Twisted". With the latter weave, there are no air holes in the braid. Afterwards the blank is brought into its actual form by great pressure, humidity and heat. A very elaborate and tedious task, but for all those involved in this work, an absolute heartfelt task.
Sombrero pintao - The traditional hat
The traditional hat in Panama is the "Sombrero pintao" or "Pintado"with thin black linen patterns.
This is the actual hat, which really originates from Panamá and is also worn there with great pride by the inhabitants, is the so-called "sombrero pintao". The hat is also woven from fibers of palm leaves, agaves, peach palms and reeds and has mostly brown or black patterns in the form of stripes.
There are also different ways of wearing the Sombrero Pintao. People in Panamá wear it in different ways depending on their mood. However, most people always wear it with the brim pulled up in front. This way of wearing it means something like: I am in a good mood today! or I am not yet taken.
Panama is not only worth a trip because of the breathtaking landscapes, like the deep green jungle, great views or the beautiful Caribbean islands - A visit is worthwhile alone because of the different, fascinating and impressive traditions. Discover the diverse culture and traditions on your own round trip to Panama.