Sunday, 20 March 2016

Norwegian National Costume

The Norwegian national costume, or bunad, strikes with its beauty and sophisticated embroidery. Bunads are popular in modern Norway and are worn both by men and women for holidays. Not just general citizens, but also members of the royal family flaunt in these richly ornated national costumes. Bunads pass from one generation to another, and the cost of the whole costume may equal the cost of a new car. 


The word "bunad" appeared in Norway in the beginning of the 20th century. This term means both folk costumes created based on historical reconstructions as well as on folk motives. However, in modern Norwegian the word "bunad" is often used in the meaning of norske folkedrakt – the Norwegian folk costume. 

This word was chosen as originated from the old-Norwegian (and Icelandic) búnaðr, that means "home clothing". The period in the XIX century when the folk costume was revived is often called bunadbevegelsen. The pioneers of the movement of making of bunads were Hulda Garborg and Klara Semb. They recreated bunads based on engravings and watercolor sketches of Johan F. L. Dreiers and Johann Heinrich Senn. 

Bunad, Norway

In the 1930s bunads became popular. Exactly at that time people started to put them on for holidays. In other words, bunads became festive clothing – festdrakt. For 20 years the tradition became stronger, and approximately since 1950s bunads were put on for holidays (e.g. May 17th, weddings, confirmations etc.) everywhere in Norway. 

Nowadays bunad became a symbol itself and is a part of a wardrobe of 7 out of 10 Norwegian women. The designs are typically elaborate, with embroidery, scarves, shawls and hand-made silver or gold jewelry known as sølje. There are bunads both for men and women, although women's bunads are more diverse and popular. The male customers are often characterized as urban and modern, and range between the ages of 20 and 40 years old. 

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