28 Oct 2018
So we were sitting down the other day on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen with a group of friends and a mariachi band came by. Yes we agreed to have them play a few songs. But for a different reason than you think.
I love mariachi pants. Truly I want a pair.
And not just any old style of mariachi pants, but the black ones with the silver buttons up the side of the leg.
Those are the ones I want!
My Fascination for Mariachi Pants Has Led Me to the Entire History of Mariachi Outfits
I will save the history of mariachi music for another day ’cause the history of the mariachi outfit is fascinating.
First of all I have been calling mariachi pants (in spanish) the wrong name. I thought they were called pantalones de mariachis, but they are called pantalones de charros, horseman/cowboy pants.
Once I got this right, the entire history of the mariachi outfit fell into place. The mariachi outfit is based on a cowboy’s or ranchers outfit and has changed over time.
The first mariachi outfit leather pants, sarpe, and a large straw hat. This is a typical ranchers outfit found in the State of Jalisco where the mariachi band and music began. As the music became popular and the mariachi bands were invited to perform semi professionally, the outfit went from an everyday cowboy outfit to ‘cowboy party wear’, or a ranchers more formal outfit.
There are three levels of formal wear for the mariachi. And note that the terms for each formal wear does not translate well into English if really at all.
1. Grequeado Suit – This style of mariachi suit is embroidered down the pant leg and the seams of the suit jacket, with white embroidery. The suit can be blue, burgundy, white, black, or brown.
2. Gala Suit – This seems to be the most formal of the suits and has silver buttons on both the pant leg, and the suit jacket.
3. Cachiruleado Suit – This is an embroidered mariachi suit but the embroidery is not white. It can be black, dark blue or brown. The suit color is generally brown. The embroidery on this suit is far more detailed than the Grequedo Suit.
The Gala suit is the most formal and these are the pants that I want. The silver buttons, which can range in shape, size and design are personalized for the mariachi band. I have seen initials engraved in round buttons, horse head buttons, horse shoe buttons, and personally designed buttons with a unique engravings.
These are the pants I want!
But alas the pants are for men and the skirts are for women. Like women typically wear a dress or long skirt at formal occasions, female mariachis also wear a long skirt for their performances. *sigh*
The turning point by the way for the formal mariachi wear was in 1934 when the President of Mexico decided to highlight mariachi music at his inauguration. It was then that mariachi music became the national music of Mexico, though it had been played since the early 19th century.
So when you are at a beach side wedding in the Riviera Maya, or strolling down 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen, or just happen to see a mariachi band playing in any of the small towns in this part of Mexico, take note of the outfit!
These outfits are as famous as the music itself and you will rarely see a mariachi band without one of the three styles mentioned above.
This music and the outfits worn by the band players was also added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2010.
If you are reading this article as part of your destination wedding research, check out these fabulous vacation villas that are designed for the perfect destination wedding!
If you are reading this article hoping to find out where to buy your charro pants, we have yet to find a store that sells them in the Riviera Maya. When we finally find one, we will be sure to let you know. The search we have to say is half the fun!