Monday, August 8, 2016

Antigua, Guatemala: The Apron

An apron from Guatemala. Credit: Ixchel Textiles

Before I left Antigua, I shopped for gifts. For Kate, I found a second-hand apron. The apron had a deep pocket on one side, where I imagined Kate would place the tissue she always has on hand. I believed Kate would like to touch the beauty in the worn and mended places of the apron, perhaps feeling a connection to the woman who wore the apron when it was new.

When I brought the apron home to my airbnb home, my hostess told me about the importance of aprons to traditional Guatemalan girls and women. Aprons represented growing up and responsibility. The number of pockets in an apron signified the level of responsibility a woman had to her family.

From the autobiography, I, Rigoberta Menchu, an Indian Woman in Guatemala:
.... my mother told me she is only respected if she's wearing her full costume. If she forgets her shawl, her community starts losing respect for her and a woman needs their respect. 'Never forget to wear your apron, my child,' my mother used to say. 

Our tenth year actually marks the stage when we enter womanhood. It's when parents buy their daughters everything they need: two aprons, two cortes, two perrajes .... My mother used to scold us when we ran off without our aprons: 'You must dress as you're always going to dress. You mustn't change the way you dress because you're the same person and you're not going to change from now on.'  .... Our aprons are .. something very important: women use them all the time, in the market, in the street, in all her work. It's something sacred for a woman and she must always have it with her.

Rigoberta MenchĂș is a Guatemalan Mayan woman who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her human rights work on behalf of Mayans. 

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