“Panu di Terra”: The Traditional Clothes of Cape Verde

When you travel to Cape Verde, among the products that are sold by craft shops, markets or local souvenir shops, you will probably find traditional Cape Verde clothes: Panu di Terra.

But what is Panu di Terra?

Panu di Terra is a traditional clothing from Cape Verde. It is also an important aspect of local culture and a national symbol. It is a handmade piece of clothing, made with 100% cotton, with some irregularities, whose traditional form is black and white.

History of Panu di Terra

The history of this cloth dates back to the Age of Discovery. When slaves were brought from other African countries to the islands, they used rudimentary looms to make clothes, such as the “Panu di Terra”. In the 16th and 17th centuries, as its value was recognized by foreign merchants on the African coast, this product helped boost the local economy at that time.

Panu di Terra is an important piece for its meaning. Over time, it became a piece that was present at all important moments in the lives of Cape Verdeans: from births (where children were swaddled), weddings to funerals, where the use of Panu di Terra was almost mandatory. This made its use a symbol of respect and consideration for others.

Is Panu di Terra still used today?

With globalization, some traditions change. However, Cape Verdeans (and foreigners) value this incredible piece of clothing. Local stylists use it as inspiration to produce new clothes, reviving this tradition and making it perpetuate over time. But the traditional Panu di Terra is also used, both by older and younger women, who value traditions and their use. In some traditional music groups, Panu di Terra is also used as clothing.

core/heading (h2) What is the importance of this traditional clothing from Cape Verde?

Economic importance

Panu di Terra is not only sold as clothing, but also as a souvenir, which means an important economic return for the artisans who dedicate their time to creating it. In addition, curiosity about how it is made and with more foreigners interested in seeing and wearing this type of clothing means that there is an opportunity in terms of tourism, where this ancient tradition is concerned.

Cultural importance

The garment has become a symbol that represents a country and its culture. Therefore, it is used in many official ceremonies by Cape Verdean government officials, both as clothing and as a gift – and it was a gift for the Pope.

Panu di Terra is a garment, a cultural symbol and something Cape Verdeans are proud of.

And you? Will you buy one when traveling to Cape Verde?

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