Romanian folk traditional clothing Part 2

For part 1 GO HERE

~ costume traditionale romanesti, port popular romanesc ~

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Painting by Romanian artist Ion Andreescu (1850-1880): "Taranca cu basma verde" (Peasant woman with green kerchief)
Painting by Romanian artist Ion Andreescu (1850-1880): “Taranca cu basma verde” (Peasant woman with green kerchief)

 

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For old photography click here

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Coming from self-sufficient communities, Romanians made their own clothing: the main clothing pieces were handmade and sewn by women, and leather clothing/ footwear were made by local craftsmen (meșteri). Costumes could take between 1-2 years to make. The work was done mostly during winters at “sezatoare” since the days were short and the field work wasn’t as demanding. This was also an opportunity to socialize.

Traditional sewing differed from today’s western-style sewing which is concentrated on quick practical sewing. The fabrics were produced at home, not bought. The main fabrics used were homemade cotton, wool, leather, borangic (traditional Romanian silk), hemp, linen. Lace or velvet were also used. The materials kept cool during summer and warm during winter. The clothes were colored using vegetable dye made from plants.

Although the Romanian blouse “ia” is commercialized as the most representative Romanian garment, the traditional costumes are in fact much more complex and varied, however the basic pieces are the same. 

For women

  • white shirt called ie
  • waistcoat (pieptar, vestă)
  • a white skirt called poala which is knee-length or ankle-length
  • over the skirt the women put a catrincă or fotă – a piece resembling an apron but used for aesthetic reason with various colors and designs sewn on it. The fotă had either one piece worn in the front; two pieces worn in front and back; or all wrap-around skirt.
Traditional vest
Traditional vest, which varies in colors and design
Wrap-around "fotă" in Moldova, where's its worn tight around the body.
Wrap-around “fotă” in Moldova where’s its worn tight around the body. The skirts could be knee-long or ankle-long.
“Ia” – romanian blouses decorated with various motifs, according to the region.

Women’s head-wear differed from region to region – they wore a scarf or a white veil made from borangic (natural romanian silk). Like most cultures around the world, young unmarried girls left their hair uncovered, unless it was a holiday/ special celebration or they visited church.

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Depending on the region, women’s head-coverings included a white long veil of various lengths made from borangic (romanian natural silk), or a colorful scarf with flowery motifs.
Depending on the region, women wore a white long veil of various lengths, or a colorful scarf. Unmarried girls didn't cover their hair.
Depending on the region, women’s head-coverings included a white long veil of various lengths made from borangic (romanian natural silk), or a colorful scarf with flowery motifs.

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For men – white long pants called iţari or cioareci, made from cotton or wool (depending on the season), white shirt, waistcoat (pieptar, vestă).

The shoes differed from area to area but the most common were boots – ciubote; shoes called opinci (opanak in slavic), worn since ancient times in the Balkans (see Dacian/Thracian wear); and other types of shoes made from leather.

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Both men and women wore a waist band called brâu, whose size and design varies. For women it also had an aesthetic purpose meant to underline the small feminine waist. In autumn, men and women wear a coat called suman, and during winter they wear a thick coat called cojoc.

Brâu sau chimir de piele - leather waist belt made for men. Men's leather belts were usually very wide and solid.
Brâu sau chimir de piele – leather waist belt made for men. Men’s leather belts were usually wide and solid.
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Colorful waist belt “brâu”

Except for the white dress (poala) and the white pants (iţari) on men, the other clothing pieces almost always had intricate pattern (motifs) sewn on them.

Clothing was crucial to identify a person’s roots and show where they came from. The clothing carried various ancestral symbols (like the tree of life or sun worship) and motifs that showcased specific flowers, plants or other elements typical to a geographical region. For women, the dressing also showed their marital status (especially the headwear).

The art and craft of making traditional clothing and footwear is slowly fading, with the elderly having less and less young people to pass it on. Instead, a kitsch trend is developing, with fashion designers using the “traditional trend” for inspiration in poor imitations of folk clothing – while the genuine craft is dying away.

Meters of homemade textiles were spread out for drying in front of each house.
Meters of homemade textiles were spread out for drying in front of each house.
Suman - autumn coat. It varied in colors and design.
Suman – autumn coat which varies in colors and design.
Men wearing traditional Suman
Men wearing traditional Suman (autumn coat)
Suman - autumn coat. The design and colors varied.
Suman – autumn coat.
Romanians wearing suman (winter coat)
Romanians wearing cojoc (winter coat)
Men in Cojoc
Men in cojoc
Romanian shepherds wearing the traditional shepherd cloak made from sheepskin.
The traditional shepherd cloak made from sheepskin.

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BenQ Digital Camera

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Romania peasant woman

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8 comments

  1. Beautiful initiative to represent Romania in so many beautiful stances. However familiar all this may be to myself, I am still impressed and deeply touched.
    I would just like to add that, maybe to the instruction of those who may stumble upon this beautiful site, but who may have no idea that these are some of the diverse traditions representing the cultural variety of Romania; explain maybe that traditionally, art has been an intricate part of any home, with the young coming-of-age girls being involved in the making of their dowry, all hand-made, from the weaving of the “borangic” quality (gauze, air-like) veil, to the embroidered cross-stitched motifs in the Romanian blouse, “IE” (inspired by the colorful flowery fields and pastures) to the “fota”, the motif-weaved skirt, etc, etc. Readers can only enjoy more explicit information on the age-old tradition of decorating with exquisite artistry every object of daily life, from clothes, to household objects, to dwellings, etc – show that Romanians have been preserving and embellishing life for at least seven-thousand years, as shown on your other pages displaying local ancient artifacts (which I find extremely important in first place, as a contribution to the spreading of the fact that civilization as we know it had been well-developed at a time when specialists assume there was nothing happening in Europe).

  2. Hello, thank you for the suggestion. I’m doing this in my free time and I started it as something simple, only now I’m beginning to add more information along with the photos. I’m trying my best but there’s only that much one (busy) person can do, which is why any suggestion is welcomed. As soon as I get a vacation, I will come back to this blog and I’ll integrate the information you gave me which is quite useful and detailed, so thank you.

  3. “The real romans” are in Rome. Dacia was occupied for a short amount of time by the Roman Empire compared to other regions. The Romanians are descendants of the Dacians.

  4. Romanians never called themselves Dacians, they called themselves Romans and they came from south of Danube .

    POPE CLEMENT VI (1342-1352).
    “Olachi Romani,commorantes in partibus Ungariae,Transilvanis,Ultralpinis
    et Sirmus”
    (In Hungary,Transilvania,Muntenia and Sirmia live the Roman-Vlachs)
    or
    “Tam nobilibus quam popularibus Olachis Romanis”
    SUMMARY: Romanians = Romans (Vlachs).
    POPE PIUS II (1458-1464) (Commentarium rerum memorabilium)
    “VALACHI lingua utuntur Italica, verum imperfecta, et admodum corrupta;
    sunt qui legiones Romanas eo missas olim censeant adversus Dacos, qui eas
    terras incolebant; legionibus Flaccum quendam praefuisse, a que Flacci
    primum,deinde Valachi, mutatis litteris, sint appellati;quorum posteri
    (ut ante relatum est) ”
    SUMMARY:
    (The Vlachs are a people of Roman origin,born from an antic Roman
    Imperial colony,speaking a language close to Latin or Italian)

  5. The internet is full of know-it-all pseudo-intellectuals who use internet forums (LOL) to give history lessons to others. When you will give respectable credentials on your History knowledge – like say….History studies?? a Phd in History? You know, silly stuff like that – then I’ll waste a few moments of my life to listen to your lessons on MY website. If you want to get involved into useless endless conversations with other internet specialists and pseudo-intellectuals – you have Wikipedia, Youtube and Internet Forums for that, places where people with no life and with mediocre knowledge like to waste their time. Goodbye, lady

  6. Felicitari, Ana, pentru site. E superb, cu sau fara comentarii. Am fotografiile astea pe Pinterest. Noi stim cine suntem. Am stiut intotdeauna. Nu e nevoie sa ne caracterizeze altii.
    O seara buna iti doresc

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