The Tiger Colcha

I discovered the two thick blankets neatly folded on our sofa after Carlos’s sister had visited.

“Your sister forgot her blankets,” I told Carlos.

“No,” he said, “She gave those to us.”

“But we don’t need blankets,” I said, unfolding them to look at the design. I couldn’t hide my horror as the image of two large tigers appeared before me.

Carlos couldn’t understand why I found the blankets distasteful.

“They’re… tacky,” I whispered, unfolding the other blanket to discover some other kind of cat – jaguars or cougars, I’m not sure.

“Just put them in the closet, okay?” Carlos said, and I did, vowing never to use them or let anyone see them.

And then one day I decided to wash our bed linens but forgot about our comforter in the washing machine until it was bedtime. I threw it in the dryer, determined to wait for it, but I was so tired.

“Just use the tiger colcha,” Carlos said. I reluctantly pulled it from the closet and spread it out on our bed, happy to turn off the lights so at least I didn’t have to look at it. That night we slept so well under the warm, comfortable weight of that tiger blanket that when I folded it up and put it back in the closet I secretly didn’t loathe it so much anymore.

Fast forward to a few days ago and I come upon this article in the LA Times called San Marcos blankets are objects of affection among Latinos. I had no idea this was a “thing” – or at least I had failed to observe it. Once I read the article though I started thinking back on all the friends and family we’ve visited over the years and all the tacky colchas I’ve seen on people’s beds and sofas.

So, confession time, gente. Are you hiding a similar colcha in your closet?


Hilarious related link: Hispanic teen suffocates under four layers of San Marcos blankets (satire)


  1. Ha!!!!!! I have two cause i gave away two lmao! They are ugly as hell but warm! I have it in my bed year round because our home is the north pole in the summer thanks to my husband. Anyways mine isn’t in my closet but hiding under our nice comforter lmao!

    • I am wearing a sweater right now because of how cold Carlos keeps the house so I definitely relate… As for hiding the tigers under the nice comforter – now THAT is clever! I may have to try that! LOL

      • Hi, thanks for the offer but we don’t plan to sell them. They’ve been keeping us warm during this very chilly winter :)

  2. I personally don’t have any (only because you can’t really find good quality ones here), but my parents have a lot of them (they brought them from Mexico)! I agree with you, they are so tacky, but they are wonderful in the winter! My mom usually puts the colcha under her comforter (because the bright blue peacock one doesn’t really go with anything!), and just removes the comforter before bed.

    • A peacock might be pretty… maybe lol… I checked the tags on our blankets and ours were made in Mexico too. Not sure where my SIL got them from but they lived in California for years so I imagine they’re easier to find there.

      I don’t need extra blankets in winter – it’s during the summer that Carlos insists on keeping the AC running so that I have to wear sweaters and socks. The tip of my nose is always cold lol

  3. Yes, us latinos love our san marcos!! :P I’ve had mine sine I was 8 yrs old, it has a lion on it, and I brought it with me when we came from Mexico. My fiance has one with an eagle on a motorcycle that someone in her family bought him … we may not have a dowry, but we have our cobijas jajaja my little sister got hers in Mexico this past year, let me tell you Tracy, you don’t mess with a San Marcos LOL

    • An eagle on a motorcycle… ROFLMAO… Suddenly my tiger blanket seems a little classier jajajaja.

      When I asked Carlos if he had owned a similar blanket before he said he had but he left it in El Salvador, (can you imagine carrying that thing with you? LOL. They’re really heavy.) … I didn’t see it last year at his house though so who knows what Suegra did with it.

      • I know!! Saul’s cobija is pretty tacky :P His is not an original San Marcos though, it’s all worn out. Mine still looks like new and its like 17 yrs old. My mom, my sister, and I had to leave many things behind when we immigrated to the States, but one of the first things we packed were our cobijas jeje I didnt know they had stopped making them tho, I better get Julian one ASAP!! :P

      • Take good care. Sounds like they’re incredibly valuable now, (the real San Marcos branded ones.)

  4. That’s funny! I received a Snuggie as a gag gift a few Christmas’ ago. It sat in the box in the back of my closet for a long time. Then one morning I was chilly and my bathrobe was dirty. I went in the closet and took out the Snuggie. Can’t say that I loved it, but I’ll keep it as a back up for laundry day. It was better than freezing my butt off!

  5. Ummm…yes. I have about 7 of them LOL. Two for every bed, plus one for the living room when we’re cuddling on the couch. My mother in law keeps gifting them to us and I must admit that they are so comfy, I don’t think I would ever want to live without them. However, I’m happy to say that none of them have a lion, jaguar or tiger on them. They are all floral designs LOL

    • I am kind of anti-floral patterns so maybe I got lucky with the tigers. When we moved to this house, the dining room was wallpapered with a sunflower design. I ripped it down without mercy. Carlos come home that day when I was in the middle of doing it so I looked kind of psycho, just ripping it off without having told him prior to doing it. lol

  6. OMGosh!! So funny! My husband and I received one from aunt and uncle when we got married, that 25 years ago it still looks new! My husband had the same reaction you had! I am Mexican and he is white. I told him some day you will appreciate this blanket, I grew up with them do I knew… Least to say by winter this was his blanket supposedly! Now 5 kids later and each one thinks it belongs to the them I put it away for the summer and kid number 4 found it he left it unattended and kid number 3 grabbed it and now kid number 5 is making plans to snatch it
    The two older ones that have moved out want to know who gets it in the will, I said no one I am going to be buried in it so all fuss overbuy stops!!! Have a great day! Diana

  7. San Marcos colchas are HUGE thing in our family. My grandparents would drive down to Mexico every fall, just to buy their San Marcos colchas. One for each of us. :) In my Hubby’s family it was the same way. My suegro would buy a new San Marcos colcha every year, and pass down the year old colcha to one of his six children. When each of my kiddies was born, they each received a baby San Marcos colcha. (Some have 2.) They still have them and bring them out every winter to cover up with when watching a movies or something. The last San Marcos colcha I bought was a few years ago. We were at the store and saw a big brown colcha hanging on the wall with an image of a meadow and two horses. It reminded me so much of a velvet painting my grandpa used to have hanging on the wall when they lived in an apartment, I told Hubby I just had to have it. As soon as the weather starts to cool down, that colcha goes on my king-size bed, right under my comforter. :)

  8. Pues, almenos la tuya no tiene tantos colores. My blanket has a similar image, with the 2 tigers in the jungle, and its has bright greens and yellows. LOL. But my favorite one has to be the one that I’ve had since i was 16yrs old. It has pink flowers with small forest green leafs and a brown border. hahahahahahaha, Y las dos gruesas!!! So comfy! I might visit Mom just to get one of them back for winter (ahorita en Northridge,CA we are reaching some hot temperatures even over night.)

  9. I remember having these growing up and as kids loved to grab those blankets! We had one of a lady’s face (not sure whom) and a horse one. We went to the swap meet recently and my husband (who is Mexican) bought a thick floral one for me as my wedding present. I really like it (this one was not too tacky, has a brown and pink floral pattern). I see these in every household on my husband’s side and always wondered if they had a significant meaning to them. Now I know :)

  10. I received one as a baby shower gift- bright yellow with baby giraffes on it. I will admit it was nice to have one to bundle the little guy up during the Minnesota winters!

    • Hi just came across this site. Do you still have the Scooby-Doo blankets. I am looking for one that my son has had since he was small but it has a hole Would love to buy one for him if you would sale the one he has. Thank you.

  11. The look like ones my wife has seen some like those at her parents house in New Zealand, Tacky and comfortable (maybe they are San Marcos, who knows). Its the kind you put a thin blanket over the top so you don’t have to see it, but can still enjoy.

  12. Ahh…nostalgia (sigh). We had a blue panda one, a Pocahontas one with a purple background (i proudly say that one was mine) and a baby pink one (can’t remember the image on that one). When we first got them that was the bedding my mother used on the beds and in my teen years i am sure i cringed at their sight and rolled my eyes while my mother in her cute Spanish, Mexican accent would say, oh, how cuuuutteee(she’s funny), but now down memory lane these are the reasons why San Marco colchas as well as the “fake” San Marcos have such a special meaning to me – cold winters, familia, homemade Mexican hot chocolate and tamales on Christmas Eve sitting on the couch or the floor with the big heavy colcha covering your legs (i remember those things being heavy), the TV running in the background most likely showing a Univision Christmas special as my sister and i opened presents bought at el Swap Meet – ahh HOME (sigh).

  13. Wao amiga,,, I never knew this was a “tradition” especially since the first time my suegro came to visit when we first moved here… he left us a dolphin looking one.. that we sleep with every night its so warm… he always leaves something behind for us when he leaves, mostly blankets… its sweet.. it makes sense it would be a tradition type thing
    Loved this post thanks for sharing :)

  14. This is so true. My family are very close to their colchas. What a wonderful post. I shared with my friends and family.

  15. More than one because even though I don’t like to use them, I can’t bring myself to heartlessly throw away something that was given with love and affection! Love this post, Tracy.

  16. Oh Lord! Have you been looking in my closet? There’s two of these blankets…had no idea they were objects to show affection…The ones we got from my suegra are color vino with yellow peacocks. *Sigh* I like your Tiger

  17. um yes we have a few. They also are hidden in the closet and only come out when it’s very very cold. They are incredibly soft and warm. We also have one with tigers and one with a Native American man in traditional dress. I won’t put them out on the bed. Evidently they’re a hard habit to break. My husband bought us a comforter at Anthropologie and it is managed to be just as bright as a colcha and also sports a tiger, that I didn’t notice at first.

  18. I used to make fun of all my Hispanic friends and those stupid blankets that they had stashed in every corner of the house. Then I got an ugly pink one with a rose on it as a wedding gift. I hate the way it looks. But it is extremely comfortable.

  19. Not hiding it!! Lol I got mine as a gift as a newly arrived to Texas Latina from Chile when I was in 8tn grade. I’m 32 now and I can’t believe it’s still with me. It’s ugly as sin but THE best blanket ever! Has the perfect weight, amount of fluff, washes and dries perfectly, and it’s just so cozy. And I can’t believe it’s still alive and well over 15 years now. When I first saw the memes I felt so understood and it was just hilarious. I feel like I’m part of a subculture of coziness with tigers that I had no idea so many others enjoyed. I’ve gotta buy another one now for my new baby girl (2 months old!) so she can take it with her on her life’s journey hahaha but for real. No child of mine will be without one. And my husband is American and he is ALL about the tiger blanket lol so great. And we put it under our comforter too! But not to hide it, but because it’s cozier and softer than our fancy modern comforter lol although I do fold it up when people come over hahaha it’s still not pretty.

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