Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mexican Immigrants

In 1910 there were only 590 Mexican Americans in Iowa, but by 1920 that number had risen to about 2,500. Some of these Spanish-speaking settlers worked in agriculture, while others found jobs in larger Iowa cities such as West Des Moines, Mason City, Davenport, and Council Bluffs. Between 1990 and 2000, many more Latino/a (people from Mexico and other Latin American countries) continued to arrive in Iowa. The number of Mexicans living in Iowa has risen sharply; by 2000, the total number had reached 82,473. Many arrive in Iowa with other relatives, friends, or people from the same villages in Mexico.
Mexican Guayabera (Wedding Shirt)
The guayabera shirt is rooted in Latin America. Guayaberas are popular because they are lightweight, cool, and comfortable. The style of guayabera is as follows: pleats down the front, four pockets in the front, a flat collar and small buttons.
This loose fitting shirt is worn untucked and has been considered a traditional garment because it is always in style. Since the guayabera fits people of all shapes and sizes and due to its ability to camouflage an expanding waistline, it can be worn by anyone; but traditionally has been considered a man’s shirt.
The original guayabera was made of linen, so traditional style guayaberas are typically made of linen or cotton. Although in recent decades they are also made of silk or polyester. Other style modifications to the original guayabera are two pockets instead of four, which is called a Mexican chazarilla, or the addition of embroidery designs. The guayabera has been adapted to modern styles of the era.
The guayabera has developed many uses since its origins. It can be utilized as casual or formal wear. The guayabera has been recognized as the “Mexican wedding shirt” because it is acceptable and common for guests, groomsmen, and even the groom to wear. Most Cuban men own at least one guayabera for formal occasions. Throughout history the guayabera has functioned as a form of identification for landowners, laborers, freedom fighters, mestizo officials, travelers, and nationalistic Cuban, Dominican, Colombian, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, or United States Latino/as.
One of the main reasons guayaberas are popular is because they keep a person fresh and comfortable during warm seasons. For this reason retailers mainly carry guayaberas during spring and summer months. In addition, during the spring and summer months Latinos have numerous celebrations and parties such as baptisms, quinceaƱeras, and weddings where a guayabera is acceptable formal attire. Other occasions in Iowa where it is common to wear a guayabera include churches, socializing, and Spanish music dances and concerts in Des Moines. For boys it is common to wear guayabera to Latino festivals, church, school events, or celebrations such as weddings, where their garments match their fathers and grandfathers.

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