1. General Description of Romanian Folk Costumes.
The Romanian Folk Costume (as any other folk costumes) is a combination of: (1) ethnicity or race; (2)geographical location and climate; (3) time period; and (4) economic possibilities. The dress itself, within a community, also reflects the (5) social status of the person who wears the dress (married, widow, etc.) or the occasion (wedding, funeral, etc.)
1.1. In the good old days, one could tell, just by looking at someone's clothes, the place he was from and his race (nationality.) In a single city as Sibiu (Central Transylvania) one could easily tell apart Romanians from Saxons or Hungarians.
1.2. On the other hand, because all Romanian folk costumes have certain common elements, until about one hundred years ago, one could recognize the Romanians living in Albania, or Bulgaria, or Greece, or Serbia. As a curiosity Ukrainan and NE Romanian folk costumes are similar. In Romania itself, people living in different regions have slightly different costumes each with its specific elements. Depending on who is counting, what is counting, and how the counting is done, in Romania could be between 40 and over 120 ethnographic zones.
1.3. Also, it is accepted that between 1000 AD and mid 1800, the folk (peasant) dress in Europe changed very little, if at all. The economic development of the mid 1800's made easy for the peasants to acquire more fabrics, embroidery threads, etc. thus women spent less time weaving and more time embroidering. Also ease of travel and more communication erased some of the differences between the ethnographic zones. In Romania, after the 1950 the traditional folk dress is worn only at festive events. Thus, it is interesting to present folk outfits before and after 1900's.
1.4. The Romanian Old Fashioned Folk Costumes were entirely made at home: home spun wool, cotton, hemp, silk (from home grown silk worms) and flex (in Romanian "in"). Quality and degree of ornamentation depended on one's skills and possibilities. As a curiosity "camasa iobageasca" didn't have any ornamentation. In Romanian "camasa" means shirt and "iobag" means serf.
1.5. The costume itself or some ornamentation or accessories indicated if the person wearing it was married (less or more than a year
single and not interested in marriage; single, but looking for a partner; engaged to be married; widow/er (less or more than a year.) Also there were special accessories for different holidays, events, or occasions: weddings, funerals, etc.
2. Main characteristics of Romanian FolkCostumes.
The Romanian Folk Costume main characteristics are: Predilection for white; Embroidery in geometric patterns; and Elaborate and highly symbolic headdresses.
2.1. One main characteristic of the Romanian folk costumes is the predilection for white. Women have white blouses, white skirts, white scarves, even white coats. Aprons and vests are black or colored. Men have white shirts and white pants.
2.2. All, absolutelly all, without exception, all traditional blouses and shirts have long sleeves. Only in the last 50 years, blouses have short sleeves.
2.3. Embroidery in geometric patterns. Almost every piece of clothing has some kind of handwork, unusually embroidery in geometric pattern; of course, to a limited extent, flowers (or curved lines) are also present.
2.4. Elaborate and highly symbolic headdresses. Nowadays, the Romanian folk costumes are generally limited to blouses, skirts, and aprons, perhaps vests for women; Shirts, pants, and sometimes vests or coats for man. The old style of elaborate and highly symbolic headdresses are totally disregarded.
3. Elements of the Romanian Folk Costumes (Men, Women).
3.1. Women's Romanian Old Fashion Folk Costume usually consists of a white blouse, white skirt, and one or two black or colorful aprons. Also some head cover; traditional shoes (opinci) and belt. For cold weather vests and coats.
3.2. Men's Romanian Old Fashion Folk Costume consists of a a white, large, mid-thigh length shirt; white pants, and belt. Also some head cover; traditional shoes (opinci) and belt. For cold weather vests and coats.
4. Specific characteristics of Romanian FolkCostumes, by Ethnographic Regions..
Regarding Romanian folk costumes, there are 7 ethnographic regions. Six ethnographic regions in romania proper and one outside present-day Romanian borders. (see map of ethnographic regions.) We are presenting about 90 ethnographic zones. Actually, there is not a set number of ethnographic zones in Romania and each "expert" will have a different combination presented, the total number being between 40 and 120.
Basarabia, Bucovina, Moldova
1. Transylvania or Ardeal (Sibiu, Somesul Superior, Hateg, and Muntii Apuseni.) The main characteristic of this region is the fact that women wear two aprons, called zadii, c[tr`n\e or oprege; the aprons are narrow, the color is black or black and red.
2. West Plains or Câmpiile de vest (Câmpia Muresului, Câmpiile Crisurilor Negru-Alb-Repede, and Câmpia Somesului Inferior). The main characteristic of this region is that women wear only one front apron, called zadie or c[tr`n\[. The aprons are very wide and very colorful.
3. Banat (Lunca Timisului, Caras-Severin.) The main characteristic of this region is that women wear two aprons, called opreg. One or both aprons have long fringes.
4. Wallachia or Tara Româneasca (Oltenia and Muntenia). The main characteristic of this region is the fact that women wear two overlapping aprons. The aprons have different sizes and designs. The front, the narrow apron is called zavelca. The back apron is wide, with creases and is called vâlnic. Sometimes in the summer girls wear two "zavelca." In the winter women wear one apron, a heavier versions on the vâlnic, called "pesteman" and "fota creata," wide, pleated,wrapped all around, looking almost like a regular skirt.
5. Dunare, the region along the inferior course of River Danube: Baragan, Dobrogea and South Moldova. The main characteristic of this region is the fact that women wear two narrow aprons called pestelca. The aprons are similar in size, but different in design.
6. Moldova: Moldova, Basarabia, Bukovina. The main characteristic of this region is that women wear only one, wrapped around apron, called "fota."
7. Balkans, or Romanians who live outside the present-day Romanian borders.
a) In this vast region there are Romanians who live close-by the Romanian borders and their costumes are similar to those of their Romanian neighbors. Thus Romanians from Voijvodina or Banatu' Sarbesc (Serbian Banat) have costumes very similar to Romanians from Romanian Banat. Romanians who live in Timoc or Timok, Serbia have folk costumes similar to Caras-Severin. Romanians who live in Timoc or Timok, Bulgaria have folk costume similar to Oltenia .
b) Romanians also live in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, and Macedonia:
– Istro-Romanians live in Istria, Croatia.
– Macedo-Romanians or Aromânii live in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia.
– Megleno Romanians live in Bulgaria, Greece, and Macedonia.
The main characteristic of this region is the fact that women wear only one apron, called poale, and condusa, a long, sleeveless vest. Other elements of the Balkan's folk costumes are:
– Fustane, blouse and skirt together, sort of a dress with very little embroidery
– Condusa, a long, sleeveless vest.
– Scurtac, waist long vest.
– Libade, a jacket with short sleeves.
– Poala, apron
– Hrisafi or Pirpodzi, socks, made of many different colored wool thread.
– Paftale, two metallic "buckles" at the ends of the belt.
– Tipunea, heavy winter coat..
– Sarica, heavy, sleeveless winter coat...
5. Romanian Folk Costumes: Tables, Lists.
Romanian Folk Costumes by ethnographic regions
By 7 regions with 16 sub-regions and 97 ethnographic zones
(prezentarea a 7 regiuni folcorice, impartite in 16 sub-refiuni si 97 zone etnografice )
1. ARDEAL or TRANSYLVANIA
– Somes (Somesul Superior)
2. CAMPIILE de VEST (West Plains)
– Arad, Câmpia Muresului
– Bihor, Câmpia Crisurilor
– Câmpia Somesului Inferior
4. TARA ROMANEASCA(Wallachia)
– Moldova de Sud
7. BALCANI or Romanians outside the present day Romanian borders
– Daco-Romani: Serbia, Bulgaria, Ucraina
– Macedo-Romani (aromani or vlahi) ]n Albania, Bulgaria, Grecia, Macedonia, Serbia
– Istro-Romani (istro-romani or vlahi) in Istria (Croatia)
– Megleni-Romani (or vlasi) in Macedonia, Grecia, Bulgaria.
Romanian Folk Costumes by ethnographic regions and zones
Region sub-region Ethnographic zone
ARDEAL or Transilvania
Sibiu 1. Sibiu
Podisul Secaselor (Sebes)
2. Valea Hartibaciului
3. Fagaras or Tara Oltului
5. Barsa or Tara Barsei
7. Tara Lovistei
Topolog (19 century as Sibiu; 20 century as Valcea+Arges)
8a Cluj or Dealurile Clujului
8b. Campia Clujului
11. Mures + Valea Gurghiului
Tulghes-Izvorul Muresului-Ciuc (In Transylvania, but similar to Moldova)
12. Nasaud + Prundu Bargaului
13 Huedin (or Meses)
Depresiunea Calata (Or Kalotszeg)
Hateg 16. Hateg - Sarmisegetuza
17. Hateg - Lunca Cernii
18. Hateg - Meria
21. Petrosani – Valea Jiului
22. Petrosani-Momarlani (Valea Jiul-de-Vest)
Apuseni 24. Ampoi, Valea Ampoilui; Zlatna
Mocanii de Turda (pr Aries)
25. Aries (Valea Ariesului; Salciua)
25a. Aries (Lupsa)
26. Beius (transition between Bihor & Apuseni),
28. Tara Motilor--Vidra
29. Tara Zarandului-Brad
30. Tara Zarandului-Halmagiu
Campiile de Vest
31. Arad ( cu "Opreg" or 2 oprege)
32. Arad (Orasenesc)
33. Arad ("Zadie" or 1 zadie)
34. Ineu (Bihor: Campia Crisului Alb)
35. Meziad (Bihor: Campia Crisului Negru)
36. Alesd (Bihor: Campia Crisului Repede)
37. Valea Barcaului & Crasnei
Campia Somesului Inferior
38. Codru (Zone Codru-Chioar-Oas)
39. Chioar (Zone Codru-Chioar-Oas)
40. Oas (Campia Somesului)
BANAT Timis 41. Timis
43b. Jebel-Buzias-Lugoj, or The Golden Triangle
Caras-Severin 48. Almaj (Carbunari)
49. Almaj (Valea Nerei)
50. Caras (Oravita)
51. Clisura Dunarii
53. Valea Bistrei,
Valahia Oltenia 54. Valcea
56. Gorj, + Tismana
57. Mehedinti + Plaiul Closanilor
58. Olt + Campia Boianului
59. Romanati + Slatina
Valahia / Wallahia 61. Arges, + Topolog
Topolog (19 century as Sibiu; 20 century as Valcea+Arges)
73. Tulcea(or Macin)North Dobrogea
74. Babadag (Dobrogea Central)
75. Ostrov (South Dobrogea)
76. Macedo-Romani or Aromani
77. Megleno-romani (Cerna, judetul Tulcea)
Moldova de Sud 78. Covurlui (azi Galti)
MOLDOVA Bucovina 80. Suceava+ Falticeni
81. Campulung Moldovenesc
82. Dorna ( or Vatra Dornei)
83. Homor (or Gura Humorului)
86. Botosani + Siret +Jijia
88. Tulghes-Izvorul Muresului-Ciuc (In geographically in Transylvania
but ethnographically similar to Moldova )
89. Neamt + Valea Bistritei
Basarabia 92 Basarabia
BALCANI Daco-romani 93. Romani in Banatul Sarbesc
94. Romani in Cadrilater (South Dobrogea, Bulgaria)
& Romani in North Bulgaria Nord, along Danube river
95. Romani in Timoc (Vidin, Bulgaria)
96. Romani in Timoc (Negotin, Serbia)
Macedo-Romani (Aromani) in Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Gerecia, Albania (76)
Megleno-romani Megleno-Romani in Romania (Tulcea) (77)
Macedonia. Grecia, Bulgaria
Istro-romani 97. Istro-Romani (in Istria, Croatia)