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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Students adopt Yucatecan traditional dress as their uniform

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Teachers in training in Mérida have opted to embrace the state’s heritage by wearing traditional clothing to classes. Photo: Courtesy.

A group of students and teachers at Mérida’s teacher’s college have chosen the traditional huipil and guayabera as their official uniform. 

The change has come due to concern that fewer young people wear traditional clothing. 

Originally, the initiative asked the students to wear their traditional clothing only once a month, but several have begun wearing it every day. 

“Our traditional dress is part of our identity and our culture. We should all really be taking measures to promote its use in everyday life,” said Professor Juan Baltazar Uc Uc.

The students and teachers involved in the program focused on faculty training in Yucatec-Mayan and Spanish bilingual education.

Traditionally, men in Yucatán wear white pants and shirts, sometimes with a red sash, while the women wear long, colorful dresses. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yuctán Magazine

“Honestly, I have never been one to use this type of clothing, unlike my grandmother, but it is lovely and, for one, think it’s a wonderful initiative,” said student Emili America Chan Chan.

As part of their education, these bilingual teachers in training also learn about other elements of traditional Yucatecan culture, such as gastronomy, history, and architecture. 

Laws recently passed in Yucatán require the public education system to offer bilingual education in Maya and Spanish to anyone who requests it. 

Earlier: Formal efforts begin to integrate the Mayan language

As a result, the state has had to invest heavily in teacher training programs designed to achieve this goal. 

Earlier this year, an initiative was also presented to Yucatán’s congress seeking official recognition of the official status of the Yucatec-Mayan language.

Advocates of the move argue that such legislation would help to guarantee the linguistic and cultural rights of Maya communities.

Recent census data show that approximately 560,000 people in Yucatán speak Yucatec-Maya, mostly as their first language. 

The Yucatec-Maya language is also spoken widely in the neighboring states of Campeche and Quintana Roo.

Other Mayan languages and dialects are also spoken widely in Chiapas, parts of Tabasco, and the Central American nations of Guatemala and Belize — as well as large diasporas in the United States and Canada.

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy, and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.
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