Posted by Elena del Valle on September 8, 2010
Part two of a series
By Hilda Luisa Díaz-Perera
Hilda Luisa Díaz-Perera
Where did the guayabera come from and is there a history behind it? Most of the time, where it concerns popular history, those who have made a difference in the lives of millions of people were never aware of it, and therefore the facts of whatever they contributed to mankind is lost in the jumble of reality, fiction and, in the case of the guayabera, in the fantasy of romance.
According to research conducted by Cuban journalist Pedro Carballo Bernal, several Andalusian and later Canary Island families who settled in Cuba around the Yayabo River, in Sancti Spiritus, began making shirts that would eventually become the precursors or prototypes of today’s guayaberas. More precisely, as the story goes, the first guayabera was made in 1709, by Encarnación Núñez García, an Andalusian wife from the town of Granada, hoping to please her husband, José Pérez Rodríguez, a potter by trade, who requested that she make him comfortable, loose shirts from a bolt of fine Belgian linen they had received from Spain.
Click here to read parts one and two of La Guayabera, a multi-part series