A Mexican Tradition, La Charreria and the Sombrero
If you’ve been to any live shows around Riviera Maya – such as the one at Xcaret — you’ve likely seen La Charreria, a fast-paced show involving men and horses. La Charreria is a long-standing Mexican tradition of skill by a charro, or Mexican horseman.
Charreria is from the late 1800s when the use of horses became more and more common among the Mexican people who showed skill and courage at being able to handle the animal. Ponciano Diaz, originally from the state of Hidalgo, was the first Mexican to turn horse handling into charreria, or a showmanship.
In 1933, the National Federation of Charros was founded and eventually declared a National Sport by president Manuel Avila Camacho, setting aside September 14 as Day of the Charro. La Charreria is officially recognized by UNESCO.
As it grew, la charrería has become the subject of poets, painters, musicians, historians, artisans and people of recognized culture for its traditions and roots. It has also become a theme in cultural programs throughout many schools due to its historical value.
Each year competitions between charros from different Mexican states are held in order to compete in both State Congress and the National Congress. One of the many important elements to being a proper charro is the dress code with ornamental jackets, charro-style shirts, red only bow ties and the hat, which many tourists refer to as a sombrero.
Millions of sombreros are sold each year — the “hat” that many tourists are drawn to for their Mexican souvenier — yet these particular “sombreros” are an authentic cultural garment originally worn specifically by charros. Now, however, the popular Mexican charro hat is worn by many including mariachis and Mexican vernacular singers in general.
It is said that the size of the hat must correspond with the height and width of the back of the person who carries it. A little tip if you have your eye on a Mexican charro sombrero.