Estonian folk costume The development of Estonian folk costume • • • • • The development of Estonian folk costume was influenced by the fashions of the upper classes and the traditional costumes of neighbouring countries. Estonian folk costumes differ quite largely by region, there are four major groups — Southern, Northern, Western Estonia, and the Islands. Folk costume identified place of birth, national belonging, age, social and marital status of a person. Differences were especially obvious in women’s clothing. Women wore linen shirts, headdresses, *striped skirts*, linen robes, black woollen long-coats, fur-coats, *aprons*, belts, kerchiefs, stockings, mittens and heelless peasant shoes. In men’s clothing variations were much smaller. Men wore linen shirts, white woollen or linen pants, black woollen long-coats, waistcoats, a linen robes, fur-coats, woollen or leather belts, stockings, mittens, heel-less peasant shoes and sheep-black hard felt hats. Influence of the neighboring countries Examples of the folk costume of different regions Examples of Folk Costumes from West Estonia Clothes may be divided into three gruops: 1. Festive clothes which were used for church visits, weddings, funerals and were passed from generation to generation; they were fancy and with jewelry. 2. Visiting clothes were for errands, business and visits of less festive nature. 3. Working clothes were worn every day, were made of poorer material and without decorations; sometimes old visiting clothes were used. 1. 2. 3. Making of the national costume... • The main materials for textiles were flax and wool. • Most of the clothes were bleached white, woollen outer garments were mainly sheep-brown or black. • The wool for making skirts was dyed with herbs. • Due to the cold and damp climate, knitted stockings and mittens were in great demand in Estonia. Different tools of making cloth Headgear Women *Brooch* Linen blousemidriff Belt *Striped Skirt* *Apron* Peasant shoes Linen wrap *Striped skirts* from island Kihnu • Old customs required a marked difference between the clothes of a maiden and a married woman. • Young girls wore no headgear for most of the year, even during milder winter periods, they used only a hairband. • A married woman had to cover her head and wear an *apron*. • It was believed that an apronless mistress of the farm would damage the fertility of the fields. Men Linen shirt Headgear Vest Coat Belt Mittens Peasant shoes *Clothes chest * • One of the oldest items of the farm furniture was the *clothes chest* — a wooden box with a heavy lid. • Chests became a kind of symbol of affluence, because they stored clothes and textiles • A chest has a central place in wedding customs: it was taken to the bride’s new home in accordance with traditional rituals. Finery • Finery was handed from generation to generation. • The jewellery and ornaments had to protect the wearer against the evil. • A woman wore her beads day and night, at a party or at work, and took them to her grave with her, beads were put around a little girl's neck when her first tooth was cut. • A Setu bride had at least two kilos of silver around the neck at her wedding and if she did not possess that much silver, it had to be borrowed. • Belts and mittens were believed to have very strong protective powers. • The most festive adornment of an Estonian woman was conical *brooch* and a necklace made of coins. • Belts were thought to be a support, give strength to the body and protect it from illness, therefore people wore belts even at night. • In order to carry necessary items with them at all times, women tied a cloth bag to their belts and decorated it lavishly with beads. Nowadays • Due to urbanisation in the second half of the 19th century, folk costumes became less used. • At the same time it became increasingly popular in Estonia to wear folk costume on festive occasions: at song festivals and various national events. • A more widespread usage of folk costumes as national festive clothing started at the beginning of the 20th century. • Folk costumes today basically mean the festive clothing dating from the first half of the 19th century. Singing Festival Symbols referring to the folk costume can be found in various places Postcards, stamps The colour black, on the Estonian flag, is said to be symbol of the suffering of the Estonian people and the traditionally black jacket of the Estonian peasant during past times. • Beautiful Estonian national costume has inspired many fashion designers today.