Traditional clothing

Did you know that there are still some places in Romania where people dress their traditional clothes when they go to church on Sunday morning?  They just ignore modern influences of any kind and continue to cherish the traditions handed down from generations and generations. It’s well worth then to know something about their traditional clothing in case you ever get to see them.

How it used to be: “Clothes make the man.”

Mark Twain’s statement continues very suggestively: “Naked people have little or no influence on society.” This statement perfectly describes the main characteristics of Romanians’ traditional manner of dressing. As such, a bride, for example, would wear clothes sewn by her to prove that she can do this activity (this was an essential condition for any wife to be). Then, a young, unmarried girl would be allowed not to wear anything on their head while married women necessarily had to wear a scarf on their head (this is how one would tell if a girl is or isn’t married). Clothing would also show one’s profession: a broad leather belt would be worn only by woodmen while shepherds would have hoods and large pouches. Also, a bride to be would have to sew the groom’s wedding shirt during the night preceding the wedding, another proof of her sewing skills.

A woman’s clothing

An interesting element of a woman’s traditional clothing was the head dress, which was usually made of fine materials such as raw silk and then beautifully decorated. Then, the most important item was a long white shirt (ie in Romanian), usually made of flax. This shirt was also intensely decorated around the neck, on the sleeves and around the bottom; the decorations were mainly geometrical figures, sewn with different colors. Over this shirt, women would also wear a special apron (traditionally known as valnic or fota) which was either broad or narrow, also intensely embroidered with flowers, birds or geometrical motifs.

A man’s clothing

Men would wear fur hats which were either long and sharp or low and flat. These hats were worn until summer came and they were usually one of the items with which men were buried. Men also had white, long, flax shirts along with some kind of stretched pants, known as i?ari. These were also made of flask during the summer and of wool during the winter. As you can see, men were simpler dressed than women, the latter stealing all the limelight. Indeed, women’s clothes were more decorated and more colored but this was also because men had to be more serious and sober as requested by popular tradition.

Nowadays, you can admire traditional Romanian clothing at folk festivals, in museums and in those remote areas where history stood still. Bucovina is full of such places and you will definitely see traditionally dressed people there anytime you choose to go.

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