Jíbaro is a term meaning "hill" or forest people, commonly used in Puerto Rico to refer to mountain dwelling peasants, but in modern times as a broader cultural meaning. Its original use is often attributed as a Taíno Indian word; however, some claim that it originated from Spain as a combination of the ancient Castilian words Jiba, meaning hill, and Ero, meaning man as this word is also used by other spanish speaking people of other Spanish speaking countries like Ecuador,Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.
When Luis Muñoz Marín founded the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) in 1938, the party adopted the jíbaro hat, the pava, as its symbol. The PDP seal shows the pava with the words "Pan, Tierra, y Libertad", which translates to "Bread, Land, and Freedom" in English.
A good many Jíbaros are of Spanish, and/or other European heritage, and although some may have a bit of Taíno ancestry, you will find many Jibaros having blond, or red hair, with blue and/or green eyes.
Jíbaros are stereotypically seen as being members of the PDP and of Catholic faith hence the common humoristic phrase católico y popular, Catholic and popular (Popular is the common way to refer to someone of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP)). Although other common religions stereotypically adopted by jibaros are Protestant faiths, Pentecostal being the most common one.
However, in some other ways, jíbaros are seen to represent the true Puerto Rican: hard-working, simple, humble and ever-lastingly wise and independent. The image of jíbaro culture has frequently been romanticized and portrayed in a sympathetic light. Many see the jíbaro as the roots of Puerto Rican people today, and many songs express feelings of quiet rebellion that has originated in the farmhouses that jíbaros have so long been portrayed to live in.
The jíbaro is also seen as symbolizing the strength of traditional values through the idealistic love of their land and nostalgic treatment of the “old days".