The traditional dress of Puerto Rico is a blend of Jibaro and Bomba cultures. This means the typical and local features in the traditional clothing of Puerto Rico but the Spanish, Carribean and the Latin American influences are also pretty much reflected there. For the understanding, we can categorize the traditional dress of Puerto Rico into three main kinds.

Jibaro dancers from Puerto Rico in their traditional dresses - Image by Jaime Olmo

Jibaro dancers from Puerto Rico in their traditional dresses – Image by Jaime Olmo

There is a dominating culture in Puerto Rico which is known as Jibaro culture which has its origins in the Taino Indian culture and the term Jíbaro usually refers to “La Gente de la Montañas” (the people of the interior montainous regions of Puerto Rico) and emerged in the 16th century with the blending of the Pre-Columbian Taino Indian and Spanish European cultures in the central mountains of the island of Puerto Rico. Some values can of this culture can be observed even today. The most prominent feature of the Jibaro dress is the headdresses as the Jibaro men wear the straw hat and the Jibaro women wear the flower bonnet. The men normally wear white shirt and pants with a colored sash around the waist and colored kerchief around neck and shoulders. Similarly the Jibaro women wear the multi colored long skirts and low cut white blouses. The footwears include sandals and a machete. 

Bomba dancers from Puerto Rico wearing traditional costumes - Image by Rona Proudfoot

Bomba dancers from Puerto Rico wearing traditional costumes – Image by Rona Proudfoot

The Bomba culture is a purely African tradition that was introduced in Puerto Rico by the black slaves who worked on the island’s sugar plantations in the 17th century. The Bomba dancers usually perform hip-hop dancing on drum beats and the drums are accompanied by the rhythmical beating of sticks and maracas to create a swelling tide of drumbeats. The traditional Bomba costumes of Puerto Rico are much similar to the traditional slave attires as the turbans and long flowing white skirts and short blouses are the major articles of such dresses. The men wear colorful shirts tied at the waist and pants cut at the ankles or sometimes the man is dress elegantly in a white suite with a Panama Hat.

Puerto Rican dancers in phenomenal traditional costumes

Puerto Rican dancers in phenomenal traditional costumes

Plena is a genre of music, chant and dance native to Puerto Rico and it was originated in Joja del Castillo Ponce around 1900. While performin Plena folklore, the Puerto Rico women wear flowers in their hair colorful short dress above the knee.The Puerto Rico men wear Panama hats with guayabera shirts mostly in white.

In the nutshell, the population of Puerto Rico is multi cultured and the lovely people of this small island wear a variety of traditional dresses. The traditional dress of Puerto Rico is an amazing blend of the Jibaro, Bomba and Plena cultures.

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