Estonian folk costume

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
Folk costume identified place of birth, national
belonging, age, social and marital status of a
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
Influence of the
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.
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
• 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
Linen wrap
*Striped skirts* from island Kihnu
• Old customs required a
marked difference
between the clothes of
a maiden and a married
• 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.
*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
• Finery was handed from generation to
• 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.
• 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
• 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.
Related flashcards

Ethnic groups in Syria

19 cards

S.H.I.E.L.D. agents

75 cards

Ethnic groups in Sudan

32 cards

Create Flashcards