Latvian traditional clothes

Latvian traditional clothes DEFAULT

Few Facts About Latvian Traditional Costume

There are many variations of Latvian folk costume. In every cultural-historic or ethnographic region, be it Vidzeme, Latgale, Augšzeme, Zemgale or Kurzeme, it is quite peculiar and unique. The complexity of the traditional costume is striking, especially if we bear in mind that in the old times the costumes were entirely hand-made.

Works of Latvian Craftsmen

How long did it take one to create a new festive costume? If we follow the entire process from the very beginning, it would take at least a year to complete. The materials used were mainly flax and wool. To get wool, one had to shear sheep, wash the sheep’s wool, dry it, comb it and then gently spin it by hand. Processing flax involved an even greater effort: in order to get fiber and yarn out of the long rigid stalk, linen had to be mercilessly soaked, crushed, and hackled – it took about ten operations altogether to make flax suitable for weaving. A natural linen canvas is grayish in colour, so the canvases had to be bleached by the sun, a process which took a long time.

Even autumn leaves can be used for dying!

Photo: from Ilga Madre’s book «Krāsošana ar augu krāsvielām», 1991

Until the mid-19th century, the only dyes used in Latvia were natural plant dyes. They mostly dyed wool, and not flax, because flax does not absorb dye well. Some seamstresses today still know the secrets of getting bright, strong colours from plants collected in the meadows, forests, and orchards. The variety of colours and tones is remarkable – colours from black and blue to all shades of yellow, red, green, and brown. In order to obtain the desired result, the timing of picking the plants is just as important as the timing in the dying method. For example, to achieve a bright orange colour you need to collect lichen Parmelia saxatilis in the spring, allow the wool to soak in the dye for forty minutes, and then rinse and dry the soaked wool in the shade.

Dyed wool in medieval festival in Āraiši.

Photo: Līga Eglīte (CC BY 2.0)

Traditional Latvian patterns can still be found today on knitted scarves and mittens. In the old days, a bride’s dowry would contain at least few hundred mittens that the bride had knitted herself. The reason for this large quantity was because during the wedding party, the bride was supposed to gift mittens to all of the bridegroom’s relatives and guests, as well as musicians; even the horns of cows that were part of the dowry had to be decorated with mittens.

Song Festival.

Photo: Dainis Matisons (CC BY 2.0)

The best time to behold the beauty and diversity of the national costume is during the Song and Dance Festival, with its traditional grand procession. The tradition dates back to the 19th century. In 2013, over 40 thousand singers and dancers from several hundred choirs and dance ensembles participated in the Festival. Quite impressive, isn’t it? No wonder the Baltic Song and Dance Celebration made the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The next Festival will be held in 2018 and it will be devoted to the centenary of Latvia.

Sours: https://www.fashionmuseumriga.lv/eng/kaleidoscope/latvian_traditional_costume/

Latvian avaLatvian traditional costume is charming, modest, and sophisticated. Female outfits are delicate, very feminine, and have a lot of simple but very fine decorations; while male costumes are polished and noble-looking (Latvian men dressed in full sets of folk clothes make you think of landlords and noble gentlemen). The very first thing you notice in a women’s traditional costume of Latvia is a shawl and an extraordinary headdress, in men’s – a coat and a hat.

The materials were provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in Ukraine

There are two historic periods that characterize the folk clothing of Latvia: the “ancient dress” period (7th-13th century) and the “ethnic” or “ethnographic dress” period (18th-19th century). Naturally, the costumes of these periods differ, though they have some common features. For example, women used shawls and long dresses during both periods. But the male outfit is radically different.

Ancient Latvian Dress (7th-13th century)

During those centuries, the clothes were made from locally grown flax and fleece, while shoes and headdresses were often made from leather and fur. All the outfits were handmade. In most cases, people grew plants, hand weaved the cloth, hand dyed it, sewed the garments, and then decorated them by hands. It was a long and complicated process. Sometimes people bought clothes made by local craftsmen.

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Ancient Latvians wore a lot of jewelry with their costumes. They got the jewelry pieces via trading with Scandinavia, Russia, and even the Middle East. The Ancient Latvian Dress period is well known for its usage of bronze jewelry – rings, spirals, brooches.

Latvian Ethnic Dress (18th-19th century)

During the 16th century, a part of Latvian territory got under the rule of Germany. Since then, the Latvian folk dress has a lot of German features. The 18th-19th centuries brought some serious changes into the clothing traditions of Latvia. The tradition of decorating clothes with bronze embellishments disappeared. Also, the ancient naalbinding technique was turned into knitting. The “naalbinding” or “needle-binding” is a technique of making a fabric, something between the knitting and crochet. People used a large needle, usually made from bone, to knit mittens, socks, gloves, etc. Nowadays, this craft is seldom used in Europe (mostly by historical reenactor groups), but still it is not forgotten in the Balkans and Scandinavia.

Mittens
Example of “naalbinding” or “needle-binding”. These mittens were knitted in modern days but using an ancient technique

Knitting, weaving, and embroidering are very popular traditional crafts in Latvia. The differences in ornament and color help to distinguish the region of the country. According to the records from the 18th century, the most common colors of Latvian peasant’s clothes were the natural white and gray of linen and wool. To embellish the dull white and gray fabric, locals used 4 main colors in decorations: red, yellow, blue, and green.

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In the beginning of the 19th century, Latvian men and women wore linen garments and woolen outerwear made from homespun cloth. The traditional male costume consisted of a shirt, trousers, a coat, a belt or sash (usually, woven), socks, boots, and a hat. The male garments were linen shirts and trousers, and grey woolen coats adorned with a red, blue, or green cord. In summer Latvian men used linen overcoats and in winter – long woolen or fur coats. In the second part of the 19th century, wider color variations of fabric became available to people. So, men started using dark blue, brown, and black coats as festive outfits. Such fabric was more expensive and rare at that time.

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Women wore linen shirts, long colorful skirts (handwoven), coats of various length, different woolen shawls, long woven belts, socks, shoes, and various headdresses. The favorite jewelry used by Latvian women was the silver brooches, decorated with thimble-like bubbles and/or red glass pebbles or beads.

Traditionally, female skirts were made from the striped cloth. The similar fabric was popular among the northern European nations (Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Baltic countries). Latvian skirts were ankle-length, often worn with long woven belts (that reach almost to the hem of the skirt), sometimes worn with white lace aprons.

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The female shawls are very delicate and beautiful. They are large: the shawl may cover only the shoulders and back or it may be thigh-length, some shawls are calf-length. Usually, they are white or beige and decorated with embroidery, fringe, and intricate brooches to fasten the ends of the garment together.

Regional differences in Latvian folk dress

There are 5 larger regions in Latvia with their own specific traditions, including the dress culture. These regions are Vidzeme, Kurzeme, Zemgale, Sēlija, and Latgale. The main variations amongst the regions are better displayed in female dresses, for example, the color schemes, different cuts, compositions, and embroidery patterns. Also, the decoration of shawls, mittens, socks, and sashes differs in each region.

 

Vidzeme region costume

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The skirt was the brightest garment of women’s dress in Vidzeme, which was multicolored and existed in many different variations. When stripes predominated, they even adorned men’s trousers and vests. Meanwhile, the white woolen shawls were richly embroidered and reached halfway to the wearer’s calf. The white festive shawls were held in place with silver brooches while the capes and scarves were never pinned. Throughout Vidzeme, married women covered their heads with tower-shape caps, usually of white linen, and sometimes tied with a silk scarf.

 

Kurzeme region costume

Latvian6

The dress of Kurzeme reflects not only the traditions of Latvians and Livs (the indigenous people) but also of closest neighbors – Lithuanians, Estonians, and Poles. A characteristic feature for the bright monochrome skirts was the ornamented lower edge, sometimes it formed a band of a different color. In the same way, a widespread tradition in some parts of Kurzeme was for both men and women to wear bronze belts, while in the seaside districts, people adorned their clothes with small amber brooches and strings of beads made from pieces of amber. More than in other regions, the garments of Kurzeme contains industrially-produced textiles (like silk, velvet, and brocade) and clothing accessories made from / decorated with glass and metal.

 

Zemgale region costume

Latvian7

A typical for a border region, it does not show any resemblance to its neighboring Lithuanian clothing. Zemgale dress has traits of Finno-Ugric traditions, especially in the earliest examples of its garments. Nevertheless, it has developed its own unique style with vertical weft-patterned stripes. A very common is the rose motif which is followed by the zigzag, diamond, and triangle motives. A wide woven sash can be found worn above the skirt, which stood out with patterned red suns and crosses alternating on a white background, finalized with a thin thread of blue or green along the center line.

 

Sēlija (Augšzeme) region costume

Latvian8

There are many similarities to that of Lithuanian dress. Nevertheless, a standout garment is the linen shirt, shaped like a tunic with sewed-in shoulder-pieces. This trait demonstrates an ancient tradition unknown anywhere else in the Baltics. The most typical Sēlija skirt has vertical stripes with tiny patterns or batik yarn. Other patterns include herringbone motifs, zigzags or twisted bicolored yarn. Among Sēlija region outfits, one will also find brightly striped or tartan skirts and elaborate white woolen shawls, richly embroidered along the edges.

 

Latgale region costume

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Latgale region has the most international (Estonians, Russians, Belarussians, Selonians, Lithuanians) influences in the traditional dress. Skirts were usually white with a red-patterned lining on the lower edge. In the south, linen tunic shirts were of more traditional cut, sometimes with a very narrow red-decorated shoulder-piece. The skirt had vertical stripes of naturally dyed but bright colors. The white woolen shawls of this area of Latvia can be distinguished by their size and their richly embroidered ornaments in dark blue, yellow, green, and red. Characteristic throughout Latgale was the intense use of linen in clothing because garments such as shawls and skirts for summer festive attire were often made from linen.

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Category: Latvia
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Latvian national dress

A mannequin dressed in a red skirt, cream coloured, embroidered waistcoast, white linen shirt and felt cap. - click to view larger image

Guna Kinne (née Klassons) made this Latvian national dress over a period of 30 years. She started the dress as a schoolgirl in Riga and finished the jacket as she fled Latvia at the end of the Second World War.

Guna wore the completed dress for the first time in a displaced persons camp in Germany and added the final touches after she migrated to Australia.

Guna Klassons grew up in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The national dress started as her high school sewing project in 1942.

Guna chose a dress from the Nîca region, from a pattern book given to her by her father. He also gave her material for the jacket and skirt and a ready-made 'crown' for her 16th birthday.

The red felt crown, with beading and metallic braiding, was the appropriate head cover for an unmarried woman.

'It was the dream of any Latvian woman, especially a young girl, to own a national dress. It was very complicated to make and costly to buy,' she told the Museum in 1989.

Sours: https://www.nma.gov.au/explore/collection/highlights/latvian-national-dress
Latvian traditional folk dance: Govju kazāks

The Latvian Folk Dress

Folk dress in Latvia has played and still plays an important symbolic role in the preservation of national values and cultural heritage and in the creation of a common social awareness among people. Nowadays the traditional folk dress is worn for festive occasions both personal and national level. The garments not only display a social status but also origins and traditions of a particular region of Latvia. 

It is possible to make out two historic periods of specific traditions that characterize Latvian folk dress. First is the period from 7th to 13th century, which is also known as the “ancient dress” period. The second one dates back to 18th and 19th century and is often referred as “ethnic” or “ethnographic dress”.

Ancient Latvian Dress (7th – 13th century)


The Ancient dress period is well known for its usage of bronze – rings, spirals, brooches. During this period both men and women had clothing made from locally grown flax and fleece, while shoes and caps were made mostly from furs and leather of domestic or wild animals. The cloth consisted from plain weave or twill. Most of the clothing was made locally while trading routes to Scandinavia, Russia and even the Middle East provided tribes with jewelry.

Did you know: The clothing of the time had no pockets, therefore, one of the most important accessories was the belt or a sash. It not only helped with keeping garments together, but also was used for attaching everyday items like purses, keys or even a knife or a water container.

Latvian Ethnic Dress (18th – 19th century)

German influence left a significant impact on Latvian traditional clothing up until early 20th century. Under German rule the tradition of decorating clothing with bronze disappeared. Also naalbinding items gradually disappeared and the tradition of knitted mittens, gloves and socks developed, reflecting regional differences in ornament and color.

Records from the 18th century (Johan Christoff Brotze 1742-1823) affirm that the most common color of Latvian peasant’s dress was the natural white and grey of linen and wool. Most Latvians’ clothes were natural grey, while for decoration they kept to the century old traditional four color scheme of blue, red, yellow, and green.

At the turn of the 19th century, men wore homespun coats, mostly of a natural grey color decorated with red, green or blue cord. In summer, linen overcoats were worn, while in winter long homespun woolen or fur coats. Men’s clothes of dark blue, brown or natural black appeared in the second half of the 19th century when industrially-made cloth was used for festive clothing. Men also wore vests, but only for special occasions.

Women still preferred linen shirts. The visible upper part was made of the finest linen cloth, but the hidden part under the skirt was made of crude linen. To cover the shirt women used long skirts, coats of different lengths and also woolen shawls. A favorite jewelry used by Latvian women was the silver brooches, decorated with thimble-like bubbles and/or red glass pebbles or beads. These were worn as fasteners for shawls on the chest.

Did you know: Mittens were commonly given as gifts, especially at weddings and also at funerals. Even in summer for some festive clothing the men used ornamented mittens as integral part of their appearance, usually stacked behind the belt.

Regional Differences

You can find five larger regions in Latvia with their own specific traditions also in spoken dialect and dress culture. These regions are Vidzeme, Kurzeme, Zemgale, Sēlija and Latgale. Regional borders were never strictly marked and a certain cultural exchange always has existed. Main variations amongst the regions are better displayed in women’s’ dresses, for example, the colour schemes, different cuts, compositions and embroidery. Also decoration of shawls, mittens, socks and sashes differs in each region. 

Vidzeme region dress


The skirt was the brightest garment of women’s dress in Vidzeme, which was multicoloured, and existed in many different variations. Stripes were characteristic for the first half of the 19th century, while tartan became popular in the second half. When stripes predominated, they even adorned men’s trousers and vests. Meanwhile the white woolen shawls were richly embroidered and reached halfway to the wearer’s calf. The white festive shawls were held in place with silver brooches while the capes and scarves were never pinned. Throughout Vidzeme, married women covered their heads with tower shape like caps, usually of white linen and sometimes tied with a silk scarf.

Kurzeme region dress


The dress of Kurzeme reflects not only the traditions of Latvians and Livs (the indigenous people) but also of closest neighbors – Lithuanians, Estonians and Poles.


It was the second part of 19th century when the dress of Kurzeme witnessed radical changes. Namely, the bright chemical dye clours came to be. It began with bright stripes appearing in the north and east of Kurzeme and colourful red in the southwest. A characteristic feature for the bright monochrome skirts was the ornamented lower edge, sometimes made form a band of a different colour. In the same way a widespread tradition in some parts of Kurzeme was for both men and women to wear bronze belts, while in the seaside districts, people adorned their clothes with small amber brooches and strings of beads made from pieces of amber. More than in other regions, the garments of Kurzeme contains industrially-produced textiles and clothing accessories like silk, velvet, brocade also glass and metal.

Zemgale region dress


Atypical for a border region, it does not show any resemblance to its neighboring Lithuanian clothing. Zemgale dress has traits of Finno-Ugric traditions, especially in the earliest examples of its garments. Nevertheless it has developed its own unique style whit vertical weft-patterned stripes. A very common is the rose motif which is followed by the zigzag, diamond and triangle motives. A wide woven sash can be found worn above the skirt, which stood out with patterned red suns and crosses alternating on a white background, finalized with a thin thread of blue or green along the center line.

Sēlija (Augšzeme) region dress


There are many similarities to that of Lithuanian dress. Nevertheless a stand out garment is the linen shirt, shaped like a tunic with sewed in shoulder-pieces. This trait demonstrates an ancient tradition unknown anywhere else in the Baltics. The most typical Sēlija skirt has vertical stripes with tiny patterns or batik yarn. Other patterns include herringbone motifs, zigzags or twisted bicoloured yarn. Among Sēlija region dresses one will also find brightly striped or tartan skirts and elaborate white woolen shawls, richly embroidered along the edges.

Latgale region dress


Latgale region has the most international (Estonians, Russians, Belarussians, Selonians, Lithuanians) influences in traditional dress. Skirts were usually white with a red-patterned lining on the lower edge. In the south, linen tunic shirts were of more traditional cut, sometimes with a very narrow red-decorated shoulder-piece. The skirt had vertical stripes of naturally dyed, but bright colours. The white woolen shawls of this area of Latvia can be distinguished by their size and their richly embroidered ornaments in dark blue, yellow, green and red.

Characteristic throughout Latgale was the intense use of linen in clothing, as garments such as shawls and skirts for summer festive dress were often made from linen. Latgale was the region where industrially-produced clothes were seldom used by peasants: all garments were usually home-made. In Latgale, bast footwear from linden bark or tow cord was more popular than in other regions.

The Latvian folk dress nowadays.

Today both the ethnographic and the ancient dress can be found in Latvia in a number of contexts. A large collection of ethnographic and ancient dress and their replicas can be found in the collection of the Latvian National History Museum. Meanwhile, the largest concentration of the traditional costumes per square meter can be observed in real-time during the nationwide Song and Dance Celebration. But if you are looking for a chance to see the folk dress in action today, try finding a local Latvian dance ensemble, choir or a folk group performance near you.

The national folk dress today is an expression of nation’s sense of beauty, ability to form an ornament and put together colours as well as knowledge of the craft. It symbolizes the historical values and centuries-old traditions of making and wearing the costume, which have been passed on from generation to generation.

Additional reading:

Dress Code: LATVIAN

Latvian traditional costume

Photo gallery 

 © Ieva Pīgozne & Latvian Institute 2015; Photos: Latvian Institute; Evija Trifanova; Valters Poļakovs; AG; Latvian National Centre for Culture;

Sours: https://www.latvia.eu/traditions-culture/latvian-folk-dress

Clothes latvian traditional

TAUTAS TĒRPU CENTRS SENĀ KLĒTS


 

Basic Symbols in Latvian Design.

Dievs - (God) is the supreme god. In ancient Latvian mythology, Dievs was not just the father of the Gods, he was the essence of them all. This symbol represents the sky, as a roof over the earth.

Māra - She is strongly associated with childbirth; children are said to enter the world "through the gates of Māra". She is the protector of women, especially mothers, and children. She is also the goddess of the hearth. Māra is also linked with death, and often takes the form of black animals such as ravens or black hens. She is also the goddess who was responsible for the land, the waters, and every living thing.

Laima - (Godness of Destiny) the name Laima derives from the word laime, which means "happiness" or "luck". Laima determines whether one's life will be short or long, fruitful or poverty-stricken, carefree or worrisome. She also determines the moment of a person's death. The sign is thought to bring luck.

Jumis - fertility and well-being are personified through Jumis He is associated with „double-plants,” such as two corn stalks or trees which have grown together and share a trunk or stem.  The basic symbol appears on wraps and jewellery from the Iron Age.

Ūsiņš - was the god of horses, bees and light. On Ūsiņš' Day, which falls in early May, the animals are let out to pasture for the first time. His sacrificial offering was a prize rooster. Ūsiņš is said to drive the chariot of the Sun across the sky with his two horses.

Zalktis (Serpent) - symbolized a deity which was significantly connected with general well-being, judging from the popularity of the symbol. This sign is very ancient, also dating from the Iron Age, and is seen often on the borders of shawls, on jewellery, and leatherwork.

Krusts, krusta krusts, Māras krusts – (Cross and Cross of Crosses) the oldest ornamentation in all cultures. It guards, blesses and brings happiness.

Ugunskrusts – (Sign of Fire or Thunder Cross) the sign of thunder, is one of the most ancient symbols in the world and has been used by all nations. The Latvian sign of thunder symbolizes light, fire, life, health and prosperity. No other nation has used the swastika so widely, nor developed so many variations of it as the Latvians.

Saule - (The Sun) was the goddess of fertility, patron goddess of the unlucky, including orphans. The design was originally a simple circle, which evolved over the years into many variations. Sun designs now usually consist of eight parts.

Mēness - (Moon) guards and helps warriors, protects orphans. The Moon Sign has been found on men's bracelets dating back to the Iron Age. Sword embellishments also boasted Moon Signs. Found on pendants and pins, orphans clothing.

Auseklis - (The Morning Star or Guardian Star) is the symbol of the morning star, the usher of the new day. Auseklis is thought to protect people from the forces of evil which roam at night. He is represented by the complex eight-sided star, which must be drawn in one continuous line without lifting your hand to receive the benefit of his blessings.

Jānis - (Summer Solstice Deity) was sometimes referred to as a son of God. His Midsummer's Night festival (which is called “Jāņi” and which takes place on the evening of June 23rd) is the most important festival of the year for Latvians. Once every year, Jānis at midsummer came to bring luck and fertility to the people of Latvia.


Sours: http://www.senaklets.lv/eng.php
Latvia Traditional Folk Rituals - Latviešu Tradīcijas Tautas Rituāls - ELDER MOUNTAIN

I saw her things on the bed. I was attracted by her underwear. He took it and brought it to his nose to inhale the scent of her body.

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