Romanian Traditional Customs

The story of the folk costumes

The folk costumes from the area of Suceava is the result of several generations creation and was transmitted here through centuries. This costume expresses the inhabitants essential psychological, moral and a esthetic features and beliefs.

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From a strict and practical feature- to protect the body against the environmental factors- the folk costume also assimilated some pieces which through their accesories emphasize the inhabitants social, material and civil status.

The traditional costume intented for the daily life include pieces made of materials with natural colors, without decorations while the „holiday clothing” presents a wide range of garments and colors.

Most of folk costume elements are made of natural materials and fibers in countryside households:flax,hemp, wool, leather.

On the head, married women wear shawl made of fine cotton fabric and silk yarns, decorated with embroidery with geometric or floral motifs.

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The headscarf is worn by women to cover their heads and it is made of fine cotton or wool yarns, decorated with narrow stripes or checkered.

Unmarried girls use to part their hair and braid it into plaits which, in summer, they use to put flowers in.

The fur cap is made of lamb skin which is worn by men in the winter season; for the rest of the year they use to wear felt or straw hats.

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The romanian „bundita” which is a short, sleeveless jacket or vest, is made of lamb or sheep skin with the fur inside. Originally they were plain, having just black or white thread stitching. In time, the vests decoration became more complex, decorated with embroideries with wool, cotton, silk yarns, colourful beads or leather applications and round buttons made from yarns or leather. The cut is the same for both, women and men, only differing the sizes.

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 The shirt, which is called „ie” for women, and „camasa” for men is a main part for men’s and women’s traditional costume, and is woven from flax, hemp, cotton or hemp warp and cotton weft. Its decorations are done through embroidery with silk, cotton, wool thread, beads and spangles. The upside of it is called top and the one from the waist down is called underskirt.

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Around their waist, women wear a girdle, called „barneata”, to ensure the catching of their skirt to the body. It is woven from wool and decorated with lengthwise stripes. For men, the girdle is called „brau” and it is more decorative and represents a very important item of fashion and social status. Apart from a decorative function, it has a protective function of internal organs during hard works as well. It is made of wool with various decorations and it is wider than that of the women’s. Also, men can wear a leather belt called „chimir”, with two or three pockets, usually worn on holidays or fairs.

The women’skirt, called „catrinta” or „fota” is a piece of woolen material, wrapped around the women’s hips, woven in looms, decorated with stripes, ended with a hem coloured red or brown. 

The men’s clothing from the waist is made of linen trousers (drawers) which are straight and narrow and worn in summer. In winter the peasants wore some felted wool called „itari” over the linen trousers.

The traditional shoes are called „opinci”, which are a type of sandals, worn in every day life by both, women and men, made of cow or pig leather, with laces made of horsetail hair. With the evolution of tanning leather techniques, they have made leather boots worn especially on holidays or special events.

Despite the influence of the modern fashions, our young people (girls and boys) still use to wear the traditional romanian blouse and a „traistuta”, a traditional bag, made of woven wool, together with a pair of blue jeans or other modern outfits.

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Like an International recognition of the Romanian folk costume, Henri Matisse painted in 1940 the „Romanian blouse”, which is an accurate representation of a popular women’s blouse, from the north of our country (exactly our region).Today there is an international day of the Romanian blouse (ia), which is on June 24, the day for celebrating „Sanzienele”. Our traditional blouse is proposed to become now a country brand.It is a clothing item that never gets old.

 

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