The structure of the Romanian traditional costume has remained unchanged over the centuries.
The basic piece of the costume both for men and women is a shirt made from wool, hemp or linen. The shirt is tied round the waist with a kind of belt called ‘brau’, which is narrow for women and wider for men.
Women’s traditional clothing includes a shirt. In the past, it used to reach to the ankles. An apron is always worn over the shirt.This was initially a single piece of cloth wrapped round the lower part of the body and secured by a belt at the waist. In Transylvania and in the South-West of our country, there are two separate aprons: one worn at the back and one-at the front.
Men’s traditional clothing includes a white shirt, white trousers, a hat, a belt, waistcoat or overcoat. Shirts are often worn outside trousers. Traditional costumes are often different, depending on the county. Differences can be the shirt length, type of embroidery, hat shape, trousers cut or waistcoat decoration. Hungarian man living in Romania, usually in counties Harghita and Covasna, wear more modern clothes, like trousers made of dark material rather than white, which reflect their frequent communication with the West and the developed countries.
The outer articles of clothing worn by both women and men are similar, differing in cut and decoration, which depend mainly on the region from which they are. These are usually made of sheepskin or wool and decorated with silk embroidery or leather.
Traditional clothing worn on workdays and festivals used to be similar, but the festive dress, especially the one worn for weddings, was more richly embroidered. In the past, the head-wear worn by the bride was adorned with specific local styles.
Various pieces or our national costume have disappeared during the 20th century. The first item were the leather peasant sandals, although, even nowadays, they can be seen in poor villages. Also, in most villages men’s traditional trousers were replaced by modern factory made trousers and jeans have become very common. What is more, traditional over garments became very expensive and now they are worn only by people who live in wealthy villages. To continue, most of the national cloth-makers have died and there is no one to continue with the tradition.
However, if you take a closer look in the villages, you can see that some older people still wear items of traditional clothing. In Oas and Maramures even young girls wear the local costume on Sundays. To continue, men’s traditional fur hats are still worn in winter in rural areas. Women usually wear a printed woolen scarf and a traditional straw hat over it when working in the fields in summer.
All in all, I think that we should be very proud of our traditional costume as it remains a testimony of Romania’s long history and our glorious past.
Costumes worn at a festival
In a school event
Olimpia, class 8A, School no. 92, Bucharest