The serape or sarape is a long blanket-like shawl, often brightly colored and fringed at the ends, worn in Mexico, especially by men. "Serape" also can be used to refer to a very soft rectangular blanket with an opening in the middle for one's head, similar to a poncho called gabán in Mexico. Some serapes are made with matching hoods for head covering. The length varies but front and back normally reach knee height on an average person.
Available in various colors and design patterns, the typical colors of serapes from the highland regions are two-tone combinations of black, grey, brown, or tan depending on the natural color of the sheep flocks grown in the area, with large design patterns utilizing traditional Mayan motifs. On the other hand, the traditional serape as made in the Mexican state of Coahuila in north-eastern Mexico near the city of Saltillo often consists of a dark base color with bands of yellow, orange, red, blue, green, purple or other bright colors. The ends are usually fringed.
The serape is not a typical garment for the Mayan highland people, who wear different clothing in cold regions. The serape is more of an imitation of the Mexican poncho with a Mayan twist, and their production is specifically for sales to foreigners or city dwellers who feel attracted to the garment. The sale of sarapes goes through a broker process, where the Mayan families, who depend mostly upon agricultural work, manufacture small quantities for additional income. The brokers display the sarapes at a higher price on local markets or the sides of highland roads in improvised huts. The brokers are typically Mayan. The appeal of the sarape may consist in the fact that these are woven by Mayan families, normally women, in their traditional house looms, giving the sarape a "handmade" look.
- Conkling, Alfred Ronald (2009). Appleton's Guide to Mexico. Richardson. ISBN 1-115-58237-2.
- "sarape". Diccionario de la Lengua Española (22nd ed.). Real Academia Española. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- Media related to sarape at Wikimedia Commons