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Bulgarian

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Bulgarian

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folk

Costumes

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REVIEW

SUPPLEMENT TO ISSUE 3/2003, YEAR

Symbols and

Tradition

Bulgarian Folk

Costumes

Symbols and

JSflMty

\
MUSEUM
OF BULGARIAN BOOKS
NATIONAL

AND POLYGRAPH Y

Tradition

BULGARIAN
LMl'lAJJVlAl l<REVI EW

We
ing

can understand a given nation only by study-

means

its

The end of the 13th and the beginning

that they carry.

of the 14th c.
In

communication and the messages

of

a turning point for clothing

is

Europe.

in

Western Europe fashion was born from the com-

between

petition

aristocracy

and

costumes follow

Bulgarian society and the traditional

development completely untouched

of

different rules

by this fashion.

Much

end of the 19th

c, this

influence and to the


fact,

which has

and much slower,

later

society

first

function of dresses.

at the

subject to external

is

trends of fashion. This

explanation also

its

rate parts of the

bourgeoisie.

city

in

is

the symbolic

Bulgarian tradition the sepa-

In

costume -

girdle,

shirt,

apron,

belt,

shoes, head decorations and so on, are used for

ini-

up and disrupting communication.

keeping

tiating,

They function as family and age signs and

com-

their

bination through the centuries carries both everyday

information and the idea of a specific

ritual

tom. Each of the elements, especially

in

or cus-

the female

costumes, preserves a generalized knowledge about


the world

used

or is

beliefs allow for

magic

for

effects.

"dangerous zones

transmit other worlds of good or

Traditional

body" to

of the
to the

evil

For that purpose there are various

being.

human
means m

The fabrics

for limiting or avoiding the situation.

^m

and the dresses, worn as cultural instructions,


offer

means

over

control

of

^B

such events with

unpredictable results.

From

moment

the

of his self-awareness,

man tries to
some closed

separation from nature,

set limits

secure

space.

himself

in

achieved by layers

in

shirt

external

/ external - woolen

- leather dress

form of the

and to

This

(or

- hemp

overdress /

final

decoration). While the

shirt united the clothes

used

wear and over wear), they coincide

or

(shirt,

under-

come

out of

made

the other, the materials form, which they are


(linen-wool-leather)

is

the horizontal level of the con-

struction of the traditional costume: internal


(linen)

his

i.e.

oppose them

in

a categorical way.

Each one of the materials demonstrates the process


of their gradual introduction by man - from the first
leather clothing through the
of plant origin.
layer)

woolen dresses to those

The newer (cleaner or more

remains closer to the body.

In

the

cultural

same

time

they represent also traditional concepts, varying from


the idea of leather as the chthonian, of the opposition of

processed wool and animal fur or the

flax, related to

the heavenly.

The Bulgarian female

traditional

costume follows

the tunic-like form of the shirt, which on

been used

for

fiber of

so

many

its

part

centuries and preferred

beginning of the 20th c,

till

has
the

when fundamental changes

in

the

way

of dressing set

with duplication

rials,

in

Made

in.

of different

form, put one over the other

(one into the other) the clothes build up

and

obligatory

unchangeable

structure of the costume.


of clothes

mate-

order

the

in

strict,

horizontal

includes the complete set

It

and signifying by means

of

it

a basic

is

and obligation of the young married woman. For

right

a definite period of time after the wedding, most often

George day (May

St.

until

pendent

or harvest time, inde-

6)

on one
- woolen over dress -

of the temperature, the clothes put

over the other are: linen

shirt

them has a

special

meaning as protecting and producing female

fertility.

overcoat.

leather

Each one

Put together they form


ing the

one complete model express-

female essence and conceived of as a com-

sign for the married

plete

of

woman.

this right is given to the old


first

In

male dresses

man and expresses

his

rank position of a complete and sole master of

the property, head of family, of the kin and the

com-

munity.

ABOUT THE LAYERS OF CLOTHING OR THE HORIZONTAL STRUCTURE OF THE TRADITIONAL COSTUME
THE SHIRT - FIRST AMONG DRESSES
Extending

beyond the contemporary concept

of

underwear, the shirt with embroidery (the embroidered


shirt)

is

object of

the

Southeastern

importance

Europe,

among

the

numerous studies

related

which

its

discloses

to

major

elements of clothing having

supernatural power. The explanation

lies

in

the fact

that

it

is in direct

contact with the skin and part of

is

visible while the other part

is

also interpreted as the

concept of a

human body
cover the

dress

remains hidden. The

most common Bulgarian

in

general,

as such or the

completely

equated

human

In

shirt

sky".

folk

the

naked-

natural

ness, which horrifies the traditional man,

an inseparable part of him.

19th

Created to

skin.

impermissible

with

it

becomes

it

society with con-

that of the sky as a shirt or of the "shirt-

is

c.

can

description

This

found

be

songs sung for the young

Christmas

in

with wishes for their

girls

age when they learn the rules and begin preparing

(most

shirts

their

of

woman

The Bulgarian

wedding

their future

all

expresses

about the world, about


order that follows from

the shirt her idea

in

and the world

creation

its

The

that.

shirts).

ornamental

rich

embroidery indicates a reproduction of a miniature

model

Cosmos. As symbols, they stand next to


Arbor mundi (and the semantically equiv-

of the

the eternal

anthropomorphic

alent

scheme

figure)

and are included

the

in

cosmological myths: chaos - heaven - earth - sun - stars


- time - plants - animals - man - home - house
ideal

of the order of the Creation in

appliances. The ideas are implanted also


of the shirt.

the colors

in

contains basically three colors: white -

It

red - black. The white and the red represent generally

the male and the female principle, the sky and the

earth

in

holy union. Their combination

symbolizes "the

tional Bulgarian martenitza)

They form together an opposition


which represents the destruction
earth

itself,

tures.

Based on

in

to the black color,

body and

of the

this,

the

most general color message

male

the

of

down

ciple (earthly or chthonic).

the idea of stimulating

or

prin-

A combination expressing

fertility

and

protection.

its

of the shirt also contributes to

pretation as a sacred object.


linen

as

(heaven)

principle

and the black of the female

to the red

The fabric

of

connection with the chthonic crea-

the

white

the

opposed

live life".

the Bulgarian female costume can be brought

to

(the tradi-

It

hemp, materials used

is

made

for

its

inter-

primarily of

centuries.

It

is

believed that they have protective power, being con-

nected with the sky, with the upper world. Their fibers
are

interpreted

as

a secure

them

impossibility to count
shirt

in

heaven. The

bridge to

the sleeve of the linen

taken as the most solid protection against

is

evil-carrying eyes (evil eye).

The general construction of the traditional


simple - it has no horizontally cut parts and
sciousness for the Christian original sin - "Without a
shirt
is

you cannot appear even before God",

treated as a family

transmits the virtues of the

sent

in

everyday

life,

in

which

relic,

holidays,

keeps and

carries,

members

the dress

of kin.

in rituals

It

and

is
is

pre-

used

as a clear sign with multiple functions - from christenings, through

weddings

to funerals

and

cepts about "this and the other world". For


its

sacredness

sonally

{in

is

added the fact that

the family) and

is

it

a wedding

is

in

the con-

women, to
made per-

gift,

a sign of

ure of the

human body

Bulgarian

beliefs

that

lasted

until

the

is

practi-

represents a cross, following the cross-like

fig-

with wide spread hands. The

cross expresses the geometric formula of the basic


oppositions of space and time
of the world.

In

nent
it

in

in

the mediaeval model

Bulgarian folk mythology

the universe, the

home

or

man

represents

it

himself.

It

is

promi-

the main form of the traditional dress to which

imparts the opposition of upper/lower (sky/hell) or

right/left

(good/bad side) and the

images of the concepts

cosmos. There

kinship.

Among

cally

shirt

of the

markers

is

no

of the micro-

hint of

of the

unification

of the

and the macro-

asymmetry, taken as one

demonic world.

In

cutting the

no oval shapes are allowed.

shirt

have

dress

forms

the

square (rhomb) or a

woven on

ric

triangle.

loom

the

mainly used.

is

the

is

It

the two major types of shirts (tunic-like and

in

burchanka). The

final result,

means

achieved by

which are

folds,

the fab-

all

used. The basic rectangular

is

form inherited from antiquity

same

way

In this

the

of

trapezium,

rectangle,

of

parts

All

the different products are

and shoulder

different tucks

of

from the clothes

inherited

of antiq-

uity fixed with fibulae.

While the form of the

way

in this

all

people

important part of

it,

same and

shirt is the

unites

one settlement, the other

living in

the embroidered ornaments carries

the marks of distinction needed by the community.

can trust the travelers


c.

in

we

If

Bulgarian lands after the 15th

and the drawings of female dresses made by them

we

(shirts),

discover a distribution of the orna-

shall

ments very close

to that

used

19th

the

in

c.

the

In

beginning the attempts to protect the openings from the


lead to the appearance of pro-

hostile invisible forces


tective signs

on the dresses situated round the neck, on

the sleeves, the lower band of the skirts and along the

seams. Gradually to these are added also motifs, which


situate the embroidering

among

her

tify

The

first

the rest

woman
in

her group and iden-

in

her culture.

dress cut and sewn dress - the

the

shirt,

child gets at the ritual of christening. Together with

name

the child also receives the

its

basic form of

ritually

dress, characteristic of the settlement community. After

new

baptism, a

- from the

its life

marks every important event

shirt

tooth, the first steps, the

first

ing of puberty, to the preparation for marriage

wedding.
the

woman makes

young

process

the

In

Bulgarian tradition

In

of

is

and the

the ornaments of her own.

no

deviations

are

a sign, which expresses

is

experience and the ancient conceptions of the

community. There

is

put on

of

piece

ornaments

(zashiv).

model which

cloth
It

with various

embroidered

includes the signs allowed for

every group of family status.

woman in
young woman works

knowledgeable
every

kept and

is strictly

It

the

is

kept by the most

village.

skillfully

Following

directed by

it,

mem-

women. There
ornaments, the mod-

bers of the family and the group of the


is

no competition

in

making the

els

and the

the

wedding market the unmarried

skills

are shared by

more competitive with


What

is

important

is

the

the

obviously

made

by them.

competition

conditions

is

pro-

and the same

show the perfection of


girl. On the other hand, this makes the choice of
future daughter-in-law much easier. Major impor-

model. The technical


the

although on

girls are

dresses

that the

claimed open with equal

girls

all

skill will

which

attributed to her ceremonial dress,

is

is

carefully inspected during her presentations.

com-

very important that

embroidering

allowed because the shirt


the

it

in

tance

Marriage

is

the sublime

community and

its

is

moment

the

in

marked by the

shirt

of the

life

made

of the

best cloth with most luxurious ornaments - the shirt


for the wedding.

It

mination reached.
richness

preservation
is

until

attributed

is

together with her husband by

and kin

kith

woman

means

recognize

will

woman

its

The

this

and

it

by means of

world,

both mythological and social, of which

al

shirt is

of behavior.

When

a male child

new

is

shirt

and

sig-

an image of the

One material expression of the

model

ulated for the

The

get

dress - from

production to wearing
it.

It

Bulgarian

nifying

also a part.

its

will

of this shirt

her.

connects her existence with

preparations for

to

old age, as clothing for heaven.

generally believed that up there the

her

full

embroidery orna-

local

importance

Great

cul-

life

ornamentation includes the

Its

symbols of the

of

mentation.

the solid signal of the

is

it

is

tradition-

born the parents are congrat-

- "Happy

new

shirt".

The

ing hint at the future acquisitions of the family

greet-

and the

son connected with his marriage, the daughter-in-law


and her trousseau, which

groom

is

for the family of the

materialized by the shirts brought.

The

brideshirt

is

from

his

responsibilities

to

inherited

father and grandfather rights and

persons who constitute


is

sons why the

last part of the

tume

that

bought by the

is

will

probably one of the rea-

constitute this family. This


shirt is the

and

male cos-

craftsmen as a com-

local

modity.

The embroidery on the male


of

tinction
1

6th

is

c.

status.

connected

in

the popular travel notes of Kuripeshich

and

with "old great freedoms, riches


It

the

in

presence on the clothes of the Bulgarians

its

dance".

serves for dis-

no coincidence that

is

It

shirt

preserved

is

personable appearance.
the richer

late

until

sorts of abun-

all

as the only form of

sense the opinion that

In this

ones wear embroidered

shirts

not an

is

accidental phrase. The quality of the shirts of the rich

men,

of the families with

prestige,

their better choice, by their


ful

shirt

and the

skill-

woman

were a desired acquisition and suitable

it

possession

determined by

marriage to a more

and industrious woman. The

who made

is

man.

the

of

Similar

to

and

overcoats

woman, the shirt,


woman, also signifies

shoes, bought and presented to the


the respective present by the

the man's social status and that of his family.

The ornaments

of the

than that on the female

embroidery, far more scanty


shirts,

appears on the male

shirts to designate sexual maturity

men

the group of young


is

among
is

well preserved.

ily.

ty

it

sion

It

was made

by the

woman

the system of rules established

In

costume

the elements of the traditional male

has

place as a social sign

its

of this system.

communi-

part of the expres-

woman

For the

the fam-

in

the

in

that

it

is

a model of

behavior as a process of making, of wearing and as

possession.

It

forms her

female group of the


belonging

personal

has no

same
(in

status.

is

it

clothes that she

all

The

will

after

other

All

part of the trousseau

wear

in

her

life)

become

which

home and her rights on


are
clothes, made before the wedding or

(practically

it

the

woman

she brings to the new


preserved.

in

shirt is the only

Bulgarian tradition the

right to inheritance),

(including

and her position

identity

it

considerable

production)

property of the husband and of the

will

members

man

young, the

and membership

ready for marriage.

When

preserved, but the old man, as well as the old


of the

process
to

of the

sign

the

of

reproduction

life

man

the

They follow then

in

their

the other world and even represent

some

regions

it

which

in

conceptions about

them

in

heaven.

In

believed that these are the clothes

is

from christening,

wedding

woman

and the

as a sign of belonging to the com-

their shirts

live.

woman

embroidery.

munity organism, to the social environment


they

is

community, which no longer belongs

them. During their

wear

color and the

red

strongest

Disappears the

he

allowed rich ornamentation. With

is

old age the general form and fabric of the dress

are deprived

in

others they are treated

in

shirt itself.

These are

communicative importance

is

all

as the

clear signs

transmitted to

whose

life

after

death by the traditional man.

of her future family.

For the

man

ated by the

the shirts are a present. They are cre-

women who

man's family -

belong or

his mother,

her trousseau and her

who

skills,

will

belong to the

brought to his father

his fiancee

and

wife, the

wives of his sons and grandsons. Respectively the

trousseau of

shirts in the

house and
return
shirt is

to

will

the

his

daughters

will

leave his

be somebody else's property.

moment

of his

SECOND LAYER - SEXUALLY DISTINCT CLOTHES

birth,

for the

If

man

Female

upper

clothes.

clothes of Bulgarian

women

types. Very popular

is

The

upper

are divided into four basic

the tunic-like

sukman -

with or

without sleeves and the saya - the dress open on the

we

front, with short or long sleeves.

the

of

a sign of the reproduction of his family, of the

traditional

theories

about

their

several types of dress

origin

There are a number

and the influence

of

worn during the Middle ages

and

Boyar

the

to

similar

There

tunic.

also

is

in

Bulgarian scientific literature a theory, which attribut-

sukman

es to the ancient Thracians the form of the

with gathers and the tucking of the woolen clothes

over the ancient hython as an expression of prestige

and well-being. The saya, as a more progressive form

which contains the

of clothing,

preserved to a very

20th

This

c.

is

period - the middle of the

late

due to

partly

is

local peculiarities,

being classified as a

it

major piece of upper clothing instead of a supple-

mentary seasonal piece.


upper

layer

includes also clothes described as neither

Some

sewn.
ers

of

them

that

combination of an apron

or just put on,

front and an apron

in

skirt.

variant of the oldest

wedding dress, a symbol

This idea

from

Balkan

the

in

They are interpreted as a

costumes.

traditional
in

of fer-

apron. The combination

is

The

type

last

the form of a shirt and a

lower part wrapped round the body

of the

supported by numerous examples

is

includes a basic dress

Most

nor

cut,

function of a back

tility.

it

are produced by gathers, oth-

wrapped round the body

are

of the

dresses

female

Bulgarian

in

characteristic

is

It

in

the

form

of an

very ancient.

upper female clothes contrast with

colorfulness with the white color of the


or dark blue color

shirt.

their

The black

remarkable for the sukman. With

is

costumes consisting

two aprons the darkening of


color spreads from west to east - from the red color

the

of

through combinations with dark blue to


With the saya, keeping the

change

in

direction,

fabric,

have a

green.

It

is

red,

there

aladza,

striped

the

appear combinations of dark blue,


later

we

the color combination based on the red. With

use of the new

the

same

pure dark blue.

and white, and

not without importance that the impres-

few

sive general brightness of color is achieved with

colors only, which

can be grouped round the

triad

already mentioned (characteristic of the shirt and

its

common
fabrics

is

allowed. Almost

is

made

overcoats are

woolen

natural"

external world,

positions

in

hemp, akin
in

They are used

of wool.

With

it.

to

mark
the

qualities,

towards the

and builds up specific

it

opposed

ritually

the

of

to

and

linen

sky and the sun, and they are used

to the

making the

is

It

its

fabric is directed

belongs to

it

of the

upper clothes and

all

internal/external.

division

"more

determined and no mixing

strictly

materials

the

purpose

for the separate regions) the

internal layer. In Bulgarian folk tradition

wool belongs to

earth,

to a certain extent

is

it

power and

dreams

con-

ornamentation): white - red - black, but this time with

nected with

the priority of the dark colors: black (dark blue) - red

as the soul of a

- white.

a guarding border between the worlds, which sepa-

Very often the upper female clothes bring together


the brightest decoration. This
ric

ornamentation;

is

achieved with the fab-

choice

the

specific elements of embroidery,

of

applications;

made

of red, yellow,

green, and white threads; with the silvery thread


sel) or with a black or multicolored
tan),

sewn

the white

in

rows or

stitches;

with

woolen braid

(tin-

(gai-

interlacing; with the contrast of

with

sequins, beads, woolen


their application is the

hemstitch lace;

pompons,

etc.

addition

The

of

result of

innumerable combinations and

each one of them becomes a characteristic of the

making the

in

folk

costumes (most

of the

ways are

dead person.

when one needs

rituals

since

in

it

is

interpreted

has the function

It

and connects them. The woolen thread

it

is

is

of

used

help from the other world

believed that one can look for prosperity

and wealth there. The semantic functions of wool

wedding

particularly important in

that everything

positive brought

ted to the clothes


to

wrap the dough

it

rises well. This is

ritual

bread on

next

year

explained

settlement.
In

rates

evil

the
with

female clothes.

made

St.

it.

It

by wool
is

believed

is

It

transmit-

is

common

practice

or the yeast for the bread so that

common

practice

in

preparing the

George's day to secure during the

birth

the

of

rituals.

is

of

female

fertility-giving

lambs,

power

which
of

is

woolen

No matter what
the region (with

costume characterizes

kind of folk

two aprons, sukman, saya), the

dren, irrespective of their sex, are

steps

first

wrapped

after their

a rectangular piece of woolen

in

chil-

cloth,

resembling an apron -

Ma. The

dress

belongs to the so-called fab-

ric

indisputable.

is

It

ancient origin of the

put directly on the body, which covers

waist and the ankles.

In

it

between

general the dresses for

much more ancient elements


but in the same time the child

chil-

dren include

than those

for adults

is

to receive the influence of the

fashion

While

follow.

that

the

belonging to the community,


birth

after

town

in

the

shirt,

as

the

first

changes
a

sign

received immediately

is

together with baptizing, the upper dress,

determining the village community,

worn only

is

after

entering fertile age. The holiday called Lazarov day


the

time

when

the

to

right

"female"

dress

young

young

woman

Readiness
to

girl

and that

just entering puberty

make your own

dress.

judged by the

skill

Models are borrowed from

the clothes that

she

woman
will

prepares the basic part of

wear

in

her

life

when she

entirely

made

is

to

girls.

well-being of the

girl

given to the inno-

is

They give themselves

Expenses for the

occupation.

this

and her

family. This leads to the

14-meter long bruchnik, which makes


it

self-

dresses began to express the

fabric for the

women

wearing

to faint.

The type of upper dress, expressing the culmination

of

woman

can also inform for the status

life,

of

of

grown up married sons and daughters-in-

Tucking the ends of the


into the belt

mark

with the

sukman and

are

is

skirt (called

marks the most

od. This

skirts

skirts

indicate even the

the dress are folded they can

wards

of the

- just married (young bride) or a mother of

two or three children (nevesta). By the way the

law.

other girls but are strictly fixed for a given village. As


a matter of fact the

cent thoughts of the young

is

ready for marriage.


for marriage is also

reason the making of the clothes

number

of the

men cannot be

eyes of

of attracting the

demonstrated openly by a married woman. For that

is

received. But there are strict stages between the dress


of the

challenge

of
of

unmarried. According to a local interpretation, the

still

wings) back-

active female peri-

used with dresses with two aprons,


the sya. For that purpose the

decorated also

in

the lower part. This

is

practice together with wearing several upper dresses

one over the

other, having the

ornaments. This results


the

costume

in

composition,

same

cut and the

same

a complex decoration of

which

is

exceptional.

com-

Layering, the construction of

various

bining

Balkan

ancient

the

leads

layers

us to

heritage

ot

expressing a higher status.

women add

Very often

able decorative
called

detach-

back

at the

strips

They are described

tails.

in

research papers as a remnant ot a


decorative super-long sleeve of an
older mediaeval dress, which gave

sukman. The

sleeveless

the

local

explanation for their use

is

women

were

them

wearing

wings. The bird and

common

a very
in

that the

with

feathers

its

is

decorative element

the female costume. They can be

seen

ornaments

the

in

embroidery and the

the

of

fabric,

the

in

form of the specific female combhat and are an inseparable part

like

of the jewelry

and

hair decorations.

The meaning attributed


the

traditional

Bulgarian

world

protection

is

powers and belonging


ly

to

them

the

of

from

evil

to the fami-

husband and the male

of the

in

line

of inheritance.

the Great wheel of

In

a pop-

life,

ular

theme

in

old

age

represented as equal to

and the old man

winter,

as

is

the art of the Revival,

headlong to

falling

is

depicted
or her

his

earthly

paradise.

Probably such an equation of symbolism finds expression also

in

the choice of "seasonal" dress by

and old women. The winter clothing


ried

women

women. It is
old woman,

for old
ing the
of

all

remains for the

of the

summer

young mar-

as the only dress

interesting that the clothes

are

worn

in

young

the village by

mark-

women

ages as a dress of morning. This can be explained

most often
But there
ing. In

is

most

with the introduction of morning


also coincidence

in

in

the old type of morn-

out and/or clothes torn into pieces. The interpretation

widow

inside out

is

that

it

covers her uncontrollable sexuality. The act of distortthe

ing

with

costume during morning

is

connected also

the danger of magic forces. This

equation with the old

woman

On the other hand,


sexuality

is

in

both cases

deleted which

is

can explain

and her specific posi-

tion interpreted as being close to that

same

(forceful

that

women

second

the qualities of

of the

of

women

age. The

female cos-

basic fabric - wool, with

its

and manner of wearing,

most precise signs

is

of female reproductive

and expresses the most important evaluation

abilities
in

rights

follow from childhood to old

specific ornamentation

one

and the

layer in the construction of the

tume and
its

rules

strict

the traditional community.

black.

of the regions this is clothes turned inside

of turning the dress of the

preserves the

The female apron


aprons are

among

costumes

of the

symbol

in rituals

the

a dress for transition. The

most

of Bulgarian

are always present at the day of the

wedding dress. Their

of the

dress

role

a decoration -

more than

is

deciphered

indicator.

young

They

women

or not)

with

women. Elementary

it

to

in

stitch

Bulgarian

the traditional

much more sym-

construction,

formed as dresses, framed by a


necting

in

a type of activity connected

than relating

Wearing the upper dress specific for every age

ready for marriage - Lazarov day. They are also part

bolic

plete coverage.

women,

and recognized social

border.

demonstrated by com-

often discussed elements

rim, often by a

and strings attached. The

aprons

is

due

to

they

are

con-

diversity of

the fact that they

are

ures of clay (covering the hind parts) - a variant of


the

The
a

wedding dress.

first

interpretation of the apron as "an object like

womb"

determines

Probably the volume

formed by means of

which

part

it

makes

as an attribute of the wedding.

extreme,

equal to the female

it

influence. That

its

situations in

critical

it.

dressed

the

of

front

woman

covers. The pregnancy of the

it

has

definitely

the

of

connected with

acts

ritual

is

why

It

is

is

it

included

believed that

in

this dress protects

life

transition. Especially during birth. Very

and helps the

popular are the practices of relieving and stimulating


the birth process, of driving
attributing

away

female

additional

the

forces and

evil

by touching,

strength

the waist or making the sign of the

striking, hitting at

cross with an apron (that of the midwife or the mother-in-law).

Or the obligatory

take off the apron by the

women

woman

present and those

unfasten and

to

ritual

and even

in birth

who

learned

all

about the

beginning of the birth process by chance and are not


in

direct contact.

who

child

grandfathers,

is

which means

its

always taken

in

gradual introduction

as well.

burial rituals

for births,
other.

The

women

their specific decoration,

them,

to

sequins,

tassels,
braids,

names

deriving

strictly

followed

lation

speaks

they have

in

signs

may

lages

in

There

etc.

each

in

in

the

map

be used to delineate the

of the

rhomb,

major decorative centers


is

equal

in
all

a figure

of the

vil-

symbols

depicting the Arbor

apron

in

of the cos-

importance with the

discovered

surrounded by rhombs. This


the

place. Their

first

in

in

In

ritual

dress. By putting

an announcement

is

is

not part of the

necessarily included

is
it

it

Laxarov day

on and the

made

right to

in

the

wear

it

have reached

that girls

sexual maturity and are ready to receive the necessary proposals. That
girls

is

why

the aprons of the

are bright and covered with

coins (old coins), even with small

numerous
bells.

young
tinkling

As a detach-

able element the symbolic apron often takes part

in

the elements

establishing communication, of keeping up or cutting

communication, even

off
is

the

most ancient

touches the rim

signaled by the

of declarations of love. This

manner

in

which the

The costume of the young married

common

sarily includes layering, putting several

Romania,

Moldova and the Ukraine. Researchers deciphered


fertility.

in

female

It

it

is

fig-

ferent ornamentation
tion

one over the

means

woman

in

love

neces-

dresses of

other.

between married and unmarried

achieved by

man

of the apron.

stylized tree,

Serbia,

found as early as the Neolithic period

regions where

costume, the apron

folk

the presence

as an element provoking sexuality and

girls in the ritual of

the silent exchange of acts of attracting attention, of

a motif very

Macedonia,

very close.

women

element of the dress with

of this

young

is

mundi - a

is

is

of the

off.

The connection
participation of

closely related to the diseased

shirt.

more expressive

the fabric of the apron. Prominent

document
for

many

When the local popuby means of the dress

mind the aprons

no coincidence that

of the

are

village.

of embroidery of the shirt, are even


in

beads,

from the characteristic decorations,

of identification

tume, the apron


is

lace,

pendants,

Bulgaria and the connections between them.

As one

It

They have

ornaments or coins attached

pompons,

velvet

of origin.

done with the

is

And again the aprons

present are taken

most expressive signs

importance

an order opposite to that

In

sweeping of the grave

last

(mother, wife).

the

its

prepares the exit from this world to the

it

apron of the

among

believed

woman's apron
as a new mem-

ber of the community. The dress has


in

is

a different world - the world of the

come from

to

The newly born

The

women

dif-

distincis

also

of the color of the tying strings

round the waist. They are of many colors, many tas-

it

is difficult

traditional

to

tell

where

is

the end of the

and where begins the new

cul-

ture of the National Revival. Signs appear,

which

indicate

material

primarily

being. Until the 18th c. they

were

wellstrictly

forbidden for the Christian Bulgarians and


their

use was

strictly

watched and pun-

ished by state institutions.

Signs of prestige,
clothing

made

of

the loose upper

like

expensive

materials;

expensive overcoats with fur or fur hats;


the use of silk, of silk girdles and shawls;

even the use of socks were considered


unthinkable for

A"
sels

and are

tied in a special way, called like

by unmarried

to the left

women. The dress

ried

made
pregnant women. The
broader aprons

and

and

girls

of the

two

of

to the right

women

old

fabrics, usually

coincidence

a key -

woman

as

on

standing

trying to

new elements introduced in the middle of


the 18th c. and the new signs are a reaction against the long

suppressed opportu-

expression by means of clothes. The loose

includes

the black color

used by

a demonstration of the growing self-confidence since

decorated with braids clothes, characteristic of

wearing

them

costumes can be also

annihilates

age-old

interpreted as

prohibitions

and

opens opportunities for an equal expression, not dim-

border

the

between the worlds. The old

of the

richly

connected with the conception of the pregnant

is

Most

by mar-

not accidental

is

nity for

Bulgarians.

women

are

express the same with their cos-

tume. The apron

interpreted as desig-

is

nating the capability of the

woman

to give

birth to children. In the horizontal level of

the traditional female

closes the

costume the apron

second protective

guarantees a better realization

around us and

that

circle

the world

in

indicates exact position in

the female status groups.

Male costumes - between white and


The

black.

became popular
c.

male

black
in

costumes

folk

the middle of the

and displaced the white ones

middle of the 19th

Exceptions

are

This

is

the

western

color but also

in

in

8th
the

a major claim
territory.

and

western regions. The costumes


only

until

ethnographic

Bulgarian

in

c.

north-

differ

not

the quantity of the fabric

used, the simplicity of the cut, the specialized deco-

and the general silhouette. The transition goes

ration

on

in

the end of the 19th

20th c,
color

in

until

the

c.

and the beginning

of the

male costume. This

is

a process con-

flourishing crafts.

The mass production of

clothes of black and light-brown aba

male costumes. This leads to a

tailor

made

brings unificasituation

when

a blind imitation. They are characteristic of the

Ottoman Empire but are produced by the Bulgarians


- starting with the wool, the make of the materials,
the tailoring and trading.

the complete establishment of the black

cerning mostly the regions with well developed and

tion to

ply

In
in

the second half of the 19th

the dresses of the Bulgarians

of the

c.

we can

most

male dresses with wide trouser

most archaic pieces

discover

of the variants
legs

- from the

of leather tied round the legs and

the waist to the trousers fashionable for that period.

Among

the traditional folk

costumes

priority

is

given

(sheep)

and are connected primarily with the

skin

shepherd. The dress protects against

activities of the

moisture and especially

cold,

sometimes

and the low bottom, reaching

dress

of

put on

is

it

The extreme looseness of the

with the fur outwards.

new type

when

rain,

become

to the ankles,

man unoccupied in heavy


creates some kind of measure

the priority of the

physical

rich

financial

of

This

labor.

status.

There are no more general markers relating to the


professional success or success

ly

on trousers

right to put

male dress,

panied by special

boy does not

and

in

some

regions

same dress

dress similar to the

important

apron

body or a
indi-

marks

their

the

in

life

boys

of

for

it

which

of the family,

divided into male and female.

clearly

is

marks the beginning

It

acquiring the basic traditional occupation.

of

It

woman's (sukman). The age

work

inclusion in the

girl.

of the

covers the lower part of the

type that

the small

from the small

differ in clothing

shirt the

accom-

is

it

moment

rituals. Until this

wears above the

is

(gashti), this typical-

given with reaching a particular age

is

- seven, eight years

cated

than this type

male dress.

of traditional

The

in life

the

In

process of labor the concepts of agriculture begin to


appear.

the

In

same way

are created

skills

animal

in

breeding. About seven or eight children are oriented


professionally

learning

to

the

traditional

Bulgarian

The new beginning, leaving the world of the

crafts.

mother and the grandmother, the family or even the


village is

fledged
crafts

loose

the

colored

black

many
We know

pants,

which

poturi,

replaced, after

centuries, the tight white pants,

benevrek.

of drawings

Ottoman

Empire from the

beginning of the 17th


in

c.

middle

dress

colored

and beginning

Presumably
legs

movement,

in

as an armor

work
in

Bulgarian

protecting

the

field,

in

for

military action.

nogavitzi,

European male clothes,

as

in
It

is

the

inal

until

of the 18th c.

in

such

2th 1 3th

c.

the

horse

a tight

body riding,

as

the

even

West

tight in the legs, with or with-

In

in

Western Europe

Bulgarian traditional

cos-

nogavitzi are pre-

the beginning of the 20th

It

member

and

of the

community.

full-

he learns

Until

connected with the way

skills,

dif-

in

all

which he

will

earn his leaving and that of his future family, no

one

is

ready for marriage and has no

right to

use the

signs and the dress of the adults.

The costume

new

rights

of the

grown-up youngster speaks of

and obligations, the

married - to

remarkable

make

a home. His trousers (gashti) are

decorations

the

for

one being to get

first

black

of

(woolen braids) or special embroidery.

In

gaitan

the area of

the knees there are special richly

ornamented

enings. There are also extensions

in

thick-

in

a continuation of

well

tumes the separate trouser legs served

c,

benevretzi, the medi-

out a soul piece, so characteristic


until

16th

lower part of the body.

the widely spread tight Balkan


aeval

the

the result of wearing two separate

trousers

the

of

is

it

the

in

the

of

which Bulgarians are represented

light

in

of travelers

male dress.

first

considerably from that worn by the man, the

fers

to

demarcated with the

leg (pachi)

often

life

cycle

not accidental.

is

of the

potency and an
archal

foot.

They are very

described as rooster's parts. The comparison

with the rooster

Bulgarian

emblem

society the

it

of the

rooster

is

In

the rituals of the

symbol

male

status.

symbolizes the

of

male

In

patri-

sexually

mature man.

The upper part

c. in their orig-

form. They are produced from unprocessed goat

which cover part of the

the end of the

ally

of the traditional

male dress usu-

includes the simultaneous use of two or three

white

dresses, open

in

the front and

reaching the

waist or knee-long white dresses. Their combination,


putting

them one over

the other -

from a dress with

short sleeves to dress with long sleeves (or reaching

them separately or

wearing

elbow),

the

order, guarantees minimal practical

in

reverse

comfort for every

season or occasion. By the manner of ordering, the


choice of separate elements or the whole set signs
are created that speak about the age and the status
of the person wearing

Some

them

in the village

community.

ranking starting from the person clad only

the sleevess dress (elek) to the one dressed up

in

in

the

and even on work days,


clothes which a well-off good man had to pos-

complete set
i.e. all

at hot holidays

sess.

The

rule that the

from that
in

dress of the child should

of the adult is preserved even with

the upper male clothing.

It

is

made

already used woolen fabrics. With the


richly

decorated clothes

there

is

of the

differ

changes

only from old,


first

new and

grown-up young man,

an important requirement that he leaves the

greater part

of

the

shirt

open,

to

represent

some

nakedness, Thus they are often without sleeves, open


at the front
It

is

and have a deep well-decorated front

quite the opposite with the old

man who

cut.

regular-

ly

(meaning by obligation) wears the

full

set of local

upper clothes which are buttoned and cut round the


neck. Irrespective of the season,

being overdressed

in

he can compare only to the young married


Probably with him too overdressing
not of

some

sensitivity to cold

due

is

woman.

an expression

to old

age but a

sign often used in antiquity to indicate the top of the


hierarchy.

life

way

We

of dressing

among men

can discover this sign

which marks the

of the

oldest

first

man and

in

traditional

order position

the father of the

family.

Common

for

the

regions

is

the

competition

in

used only within and accord-

ornamentation but

it

ing to the rules of

age demarcation. Competition with

is

lots of specific braids (gaitan) is

allowed only for the

young men. An important indication of wealth and


prestige is also the color of the fabrics. The black
(dark blue) color, primarily

worn by Bulgarian

crafts-

men and tradesmen, comes to marks a new status


and new feel of self-confidence, an attempt for new
symbolization and a new aesthetics. We can interpret
in

this

sense the introduction

of the

"city

black"

in

costumes which

male

lasted

more backwards

in

regions even after the Liberation again under the

ence

of the

the sleeve.

Quick changes

influ-

town.

They are the

dental.

woman

the upper dress are not acci-

herself but

the 19th

the upper female clothing covers a

c.

wide range - from the archaic samples to the

first

fashionable ones. The brightest decoration covers the

bought on the male

old sleeveless dresses reaching the knees.


ration is rich

upper

colorful

elbows.
are

and contrasting also


clothes

A product

long

the group of the

reaching

sleeves

of craftsmen,

changing

the

society the upper dress

symbol

of

tiations.

In

by the

side,

Bulgarian tra-

interpreted

as a

abundance, wealth, happiness and family

marks the conclusion

It

is

In

the

most

of the

cases

of the marriage
it

is

worn

nego-

for the first

time at the wedding, put on inside out, with the fur

on the outside or the front pieces attached to the

their form,

dresses with long sleeves, expensive and

richly decorated.

They are made

skin. There

silver fibers

is

of fine materials (or

sheep skin and decorations

leather) with lining of

game

with

in

The deco-

ditional

status.

made by

not

is

it

father-in-law and the mother-in-law.


In

As a

result of its role of signifier.

wedding present,

obligatory

ABOUT UPPER CLOTHING AND FURS

in

in

addition black or red

and multicolored

silk

gaitan,

embroidery, tassels

and gallons. With time

this part begins to differ

the other parts of the

costume

cut, inserted side

of

with

its

from

complicated

pieces and well-expresses curve of

back and allowing the fur to be seen.


manently

in

It

is

worn per-

a definite period of time by the bride, irre-

spective of atmospheric conditions. Weather

is

con-

nected with the specific taboos to which the young

woman

is

subjected

in

her

new home. The dress

put on special days chosen for that and then


or thrown on a tree.

From

a dress for holidays

and

of

one or two

that
is

moment on

again warn

it

until

is

is

hung

becomes
the birth

children.

Very specific for this element of the female cos-

tume

is

the animal skin, as basic material, lining or

might

and

have

heavy

whole

village

results for the

community,

know of
damages
working

we

although
serious

health

women

young

of

the field

in

very

in

The

temperatures.

high

exceptional

energy of

fertile

woman,

the young

destined

to create for the first time a

new

with the

covered

carefully

is

life,

dress.

protects

It

and helps not only her but

members

other

munity.

the

at

is

It

comsame

of the

time believed that this stimulates the forces of growth

and the required results are


achieved - successful creand

ation, carrying
child;

and

rain

fertile

The

harvest.

birth of a
rich

practice

of

hanging the upper dress of


the bride on a tree, after her

among

determined by the symbolic

role that

social)

sheep skin

abundance and wealth.

prosperity,

moments

it

desired

some

specific

At

(non-human),

"natural"

which very

precisely expresses the transitional status of the bride

new community. The

inclusion of animal skins

in

her

in

the space of female wedding dresses secures and

guarantees protection of the


rious world with

considered that
power.

For that

which she
it

is

from

purpose

looks for the exit - a

woman from
is

it

is

of

sible

young mother and

the bride

it

is

is

she draws
ritual

The

she

practice

present at

transitional states

ry for the

also

achieves through turning

dresses inside out

moments and

is

communication with

the upper dress with the skin outwards.


of turning the

It

wedding

the

means

the "other world" and

connected.

this world that


in

the myste-

at burial

it

is

all

pos-

obligato-

ceremonies. For

a risky period, connected with her

first

pregnancy. The whole community looks at her as a


bearer of her

purpose

own and

until St.

of universal

George day (May

the "golden rain of

St.

fertility.

6), until

For that

the day of

George", the bride necessarily

wears her upper dress. Not wearing

it

is

impossible

the

gold

discloses the idea of the hidden and grow-

It

whose

ing well-being

final

aim

longevity

is

and many

children.

The lack

changes considerably towards the feature

"animal"

"alien",

strongly

fleece.

as
the

of

is

archaic,

enough

semantics

and

performs. The semantics of the

it

transparent for the

is

(ritual

most

the

popular
decoration,

undressing,

ritual

first

of

an upper dress

the costume

in

a clear sign, but this time of an unmarried

One

of the

basic complexes

in

also

is

woman.

Bulgarian folk songs

includes motifs which unite the young

the sun

girl,

and the seasons. They are sang mainly at wedding


uals or at Christmas holidays.

In

traditional

rit-

myths the

opposition of winter colds (the freezing of nature) and

summer

heat (growth and harvest)

connected with

is

the sun, interpreted as an anthropomorphic god.


winter
girl

mer,

it

is

weak and defeated by the beauty

on earth,

when

steals the

who

shines brighter than him.

the sun
girl

is

of the

In

sum-

marriage begins.

its

from her family and she becomes


concept of

wife. This gives the


ic

strong,

summer

In

It

its

as a symbol-

wedding. The already mentioned lack of practicism

or the lack
find

of

upper dress

explanation

in

the

of the

unmarried

representation

strength which outshines the sun. Or

phered as motivated by the desire to


tion in the

the

home,

unmarried

it

to

stress

on

the

can
girl's

can be deci-

show

to demonstrate the

girl",

of

girl

preserva-

"loneliness of

occupation

with

female dress also discloses the idea of the social status.

belonged for the

It

first

time to the young mar-

woman, standing on the highest level in female


hierarchy. By means of her kozhuh, kyurk, worn perried

manently

in

ceremonial costumes, she demonstrates

she has been estimates according to her merits

that

The value of the dress,

with a present for the wedding.

most expensive, and the

the

fact that

was bought

it

turn her into a sign of well-being, prosperity

and suc-

cess of her family.

The 1930s-1940s

preserve almost unchanged

still

the traditional male upper clothes. Widely spread


the use of the so-called yamurluk with
variants, of the characteristic

long sleeves.
are

qualities

is

It

made

two main

cape or the dress with

of special

known from

its

is

antiquity

material

whose

- wool with goat

fleece or pure wool, thick specially processed fabric

which

is

bucled at places (with the bucle inwards) for

additional thermal protection.

The
sess

it

men

in

right to

(or not) distinguishes married

the village community.

ual dress,
in

use the upper dress (or

It

is

not), to

pos-

from unmarried

interpreted as a

rit-

kept as the most precious object and used

very special occasions. Both with the bride and the

bridegroom wearing the dress gives a sign of belong-

house work

related to the trousseau, activity particu-

intense

larly

winter. This

in

contributes to the

also

complete image of the modest and

woman

related can

is

way than as a
man's
sented

child

be interpreted

him and

woman must wear

why

to marriage.

girl

to

upper

last

dress on

is

equiva-

passes

layer

in

her

in this

dress

is

forced

bridegroom. With

her

in

defined as a "male dress".


acquisition

pre-

the wedding the

husband and

expresses her pride

sense the

is

Sometimes by forcing the

woman

the sign" of her

of the

as a sign of belonging

it

unwanted

marriage the

the

dress

on the dress she

put

accept an

with

this

after

to his family. Putting the


lent

no other

in

and possession

right

family. That is

by

which the upper

to

entirely

to

her

"under

his family

and

costume she

belonging.

In

this

costume can be
It

is

such as an

and as a fundamental image

in

the

general composition. This partly explains the

upper male and female clothes

similarity

of

and

material

the

expressiveness

achieved

through them.

The ceremonial and

ritual

young

ditional

use of the upper

We must

house the

large

head of the

family.

have

leather

yamurluk are possessions


of the

waiting for her wedding.

Conceiving
dress

diligent

ing to the family.

in

mind

that in a tra-

male dress and the

of the father of the family,

They are sewn and ordered

members

only for him but used by other

on special occasions -

ily

Each house has

or while traveling.

of lending

wedding

for the

it

In
rit-

can be taken as belonging to the family and as a

ual

wish for wealth, abundance,

The long
in

work

one such "family dress".

at least

sense borrowing

this

at

fam-

of the

for similar future rights.

and the dresses

fur coats

lined with fur

when

general are not worn by unmarried men. Only

they

performing

are

Christmas

borrow

they

rituals

them but even then they don't put them on and only
throw them on their shoulders. These strict rules are
strictly

kept

among

the

the

in

few preserved

families

late

until

are

male

in

the portraits of donor

in

churches and monasteries from the 15th

in

the 18th c.

until

rules

They are depicted

clothing.

community and

traditional

The young church donors are repre-

sented with their upper dresses on their shoulders

have short sleeves and are shorter) and

(rarely they
in

cases they

all

form and manner of

differ in their

wearing from the fathers or the elder brothers.

The

possess an upper dress and

right to

as a most visible and

tume

cos-

last layer of the traditional

connected with the greatest achievements of

is

man, with reaching the highest position

the

use

its

hierarchy

traditional

of

man, the

married

man. By

values.

man

elderly

that principle the set

(and the richer one)


irrespective

the

of

It

in

the

distinguishes

the

is

It

man

used by the old

always complete. Every day,

is

season,

he can wear

clothes characteristic of the village, the

one included.

very wealthy

or the

among

male

all

most valuable

the signs of the father of

the family, the head of the house, the only

owner

of

the property, of the all-empowered master of the family.

marks the

It

old

man who

community and very

the

before the world,

in

represents the family

often the

community

in

itself

the capacity of an alderman.

Preserved and used

till

late,

the upper clothes keep


For

longer their symbolic importance as parts of the cos-

tume. This

is

probably due to the fact that they pre-

sent the

man

work,

the open,

in

activity.

which

out of the house, at time of traveling, of

Among

is

i.e.

its

preservation

in

a relatively

contributes the fact that

it

is

ual representative functions,

marker

of the

head of the

unchanged form

very practical,

it

has

rit-

a family sign or rather the

family.

the basic male territory of

in

the upper clothes

we have

also the one

most expressive as a professional marker -

the shepherd's yamurluk.

In

addition to professional

THE VERTICAL STRUCTURE OF THE


TRADITIONAL COSTUME
SIGNS

IN

differences, the upper dress informs of differences in


living

standard and indicates the position of the

man
In

in

the

social

The

hierarchy.

expressed through the type


fabric, not
its
it

home made),

its

high

status

is

of the material (expensive

Bulgarian

made up

fur.
is

No matter

that

bad, paradise and

not subject to

and remains

traditional,

the
living

only one

in

the

life

of its

owner and the whole

In

is

good and

lower,

the vertical structure of the

costume, the environment, the world

of the

exemplified by the girdle.

natur-

person

family.
al

hell.

and

is

which vary from

the earthly of the present to the other world, which

traditional

tendencies

of the universal three levels,

divided for precision into upper

bought, the use of the dress

fashionable

mythological concepts the world

coloring (black, dark blue),

length and the presence of the


is

social

then that

in

is

one

of the

It

is

most popular Bulgarian

ver-

after failures with giants

last,

human beings

world,
that
is

most adapted

and

height

- a

same

levels

and dwarves. Of middle

girdle

and

to

(earthly)

are obliged to bear the sign of


their body. Similar

which

occupied by people

middle world the people wear

it

who wear a band

round

We

Universe.

eties

and

cultural practice)

is

round

are

compara-

slaying

triple

in

her realization as a

mother. Their originals can be found


clothing

universally protecting

objects

with

indisputable

breast piece,

belt,

man

in

since

antiquity,

soldier's

value

ritual

parts of the

knee piece and a helmet. The con-

men-

nection with the male military attributes just

tioned
the

The Bulgarian epics about heroes reproduce the


marriage candidates and the

woman's

cover the most vulnerable parts of the

is

not without reason

ritual

hero,
this

to

slaying
the

if

the

of

central

personage

Bulgarian

her

"girl-hero" with

separate

of cloth or knitted that cover

body, to protect her and help

it

kaltzi -

between the ankle and the knee. They have

the leg

indisputable.

struggle for superiority of the

made

legs of trousers

by means of elements or acces-

costumes

sories to the

from the wrists to the

elbows; a hat and a head cover;

(one of the most ancient

their designation

cloth

of

and

Indo-European soci-

ble with the social functions of

made

bracelets

their waist,

scheme they

the "Dumezil"

In

waist,

to

the tripartite structure of the

in

breast piece - from the neck to the


covered with old coins; arm pieces belt,

the

have thus delineated three zones with

clear characteristics

also put their textile analogues -

are

in

the lower world, underground, they wear

their knees.

the

tells that

themselves) round their necks (head),

(girdle

in

middle

the

the story of the three girdles


is

comes on

race

round the middle of

girdle

upper floor

in

earth

human

sions of the Creation the

we come

to

girl-

role

of

the

in

wedding,

her

of

body through the knees, the waist and the neck


interpreted as a ritual death.
of the

key concepts

the world,

is

in

in

general. This

in
is

"triple slaying",

one

the archaic interpretation of

also reproduced

tume and from there


tume

The

in

the wedding cos-

the traditional female cos-

achieved through putting the

accent on separate zones, by special covering of the

woman's body -

SM

the head, the belt (the hands and

.*fe

the neck) and the legs,

marked also

in

epic texts.
(.-

The marking of these zones

in

the vertical structure

of the general

composition of the female tradition-

costume

completed with the presents of the

al

fiancee

is

which

include

the

metal

head decorations,

coins, bracelets,

strings

belt,

called

of

woman's

.^ l

weapon, and the leather shoes, the clearest signs of


the family status

in

On the

the traditional community.

7
A

'&

fvW
STiO,

3S?

'<j

}.

kK

*&

:*%*t*

death of the social

body and the passing

y*-4

Mcr

into

from

new

status

virgin

into

woman. Most probably


this
idea was
pre-

Z^w

served,
told

performed

the

asserted

also

and

through the

traditional clothing.

THE MIDDLE - BELT AND GIRDLE

the back or hang on the sides. Specialized research

describes their appearance

The contemporary idea of the


ry

underestimates

dom

of

and lower parts by means

one part that


In

to fix the piece of cloth to

the visual division into the

In

is

human upper

means
lar

everywhere

the traditional

in

East and Europe,

is

mostly strongly symbolically loaded.

confirmation of this also

in

key

such decorations

in

the basic composition, a definition that can

be

the clothes of the

woman

in

view of

ed meanings

in

practical role

its

and the impart-

the space of the traditional costume.

the mediaeval world of the Christian Bulgarian

In

metaphor

the girdle as a
tory

is

for

and must never be taken

implanted

into the

chastity

life in

The rules survive

off.

female girdle

obliga-

is

which

(belt),

is

taken

by the traditional community to be the major sign of

moral

purity. Its

outside appearance

also preserved.

is

Continuity guaranteed also by the fact that the hori-

Western Europe

zontal cut characteristic of

after the

the Near

They are described as the most ancient female markhave children".

(belt)

in

defined as sexually provocative.

called the

accepted

costumes

ing of the "readiness to

there

of clothes,

popu-

of attracting sexual attention. Their use,

is

research papers the girdle

to

an accesso-

function to secure free-

initial

movements and

the body.
part

its

belt as

pre-historic times as a

in

other.

Prominent

from against
around.

and

life

all

Some

its

visible

else,

it

costume, the

of the traditional

many

functions -

man

basic function to protect

and

util-

complement each

invisible evils of the

world

embodies the human strength

By the manner of wearing

itself.

in

ready to be married.

loaded with

is

find

the abundant presence of

decorative, symbolic, which

itarian,

can

Bulgarian practice, especially

An inseparable part
belt (the girdle) is

We

it

it

can

express the present, the past or the future. An important

moment

in

its

making

and the end. Most often

marking the beginning

is

this

is

tassels

done by

putting

and pendants

many
the

at

end of the strips (called the

and

letter)

presence

by the mysterious
in

the beginning of

the binding material of figures


of

human beings

which

after

that

or of stars,
are

hidden

next to the body. The belt


dle)

is

interpreted

kind

of

line

of

life,

as

(gir-

some

which

is

probably the result of the fact


16th

c.

is

not introduced

The female
centuries

of

girdles

use

Bulgarian folk costumes.

in

and

and

belts are the result of

include

oldest

the

processes of producing materials. The set of


techniques that exists offers an opportunity to

demonstrate the transition from the most primbraids to the

itive

creation

the

of

classical

weaving. There are narrow and long belts, wide

and

multicolored

known

girdles,

short

belts

widely

for their metal part (pafti) - special

and

extremely beautiful products of craftsmanship.


Their textile strips prepared by the

woman

are exceptional in their coloring,

self,

her-

bright-

ness of embroidery and are therefore called


rainbows (zunka, zunitza). The similarity
preserved

in their textile

is

best

and embroidery orna-

mentation. Even the rainbow

itself is

called gir-

dle.
All

types of female girdles have as parts of

narrow or wide belts


sels

(girdles)

additional tas-

and numerous colored woolen pendants

and pompons. While dressing they

fall

loose

at

many

that, at putting

it

on,

it

has a beginning, a middle and

an end and forms a spiral round the body, taken to

be equal to development. The end of one's


(death)

of his

marked with the expression

is

This

girdle.

longer the

means

of

it

the

woman

in

are expressed

dress to

will

live.

can protect herself and

story.

face as an apotropy.
of the

woolen material

by that of the metal. There are also


adding

from the 11th

concrete plight of a

The

explained with their

and thus repulse


the chain

woman.

and keys

1*

child

among

is

most

stable

""

.<?:

the

woman

and

is

same time

one

is

common

the

of

Narrow and
is

it

to

is

tradi-

preserved

long, with tassels

put on to

worn

and

fertility.

use of the

of the

rings

mark the young

seduce,

to

attract

based

tices

i;**:

and pendants,

prac-

ditional

evil. In

female belt as a sign

clearly today.

tra-

it

ability to "reflect"

ancient symbols of sex and

tional

the

demons
are made

worn on the waist with

The memory

the

and old coins. Data

Attachment to metal objects can be

of the

to

birth

axes,

amulets of different form - axes, spears, and swords.

conceiving, keeping and


giving

many examples

are afraid of sharp metal and so from

in

girdling suitable for

completed

contain the old belief that

c.

metaphor or more
description

is

by additional small metal

knives, padlocks, keys, crosses

strength

marriage which automatically turns

and the leather

to

have children. This can be achieved only

precisely

kind of belt the strength

of

and guarantee the

the belt into a

In this

By

the value of this part of the

in

attract, stimulate, protect,

ability to

end

Marking the most important stages

her

it

person

longer a

the

retell

life

this is the

the origin of the belief that the

is

girdle

time

life

on

the

beliet

in

positive
of

result

con-

the
tact

the

of

with

material

woman's
body.
Many

the

use

variants

are

starting

with

the

special thread up to

the

wide

girdle

icons painted on

with
it.

One

specifically protective

called

is

the so-

grass-snake belt - snake skin

wrapped
keeps

means

it

in

cloth.

The pregnant

till

birth

and keeps

it

woman
for next

pregnancies. The position of the snake

on the woman's waist, equal to the


belt,

must have been

old beliefs.

The snake

inherited
is

from

conceived of

as a creature with cosmic functions,

which holds the


sifier

that

birth,

life".

connects the three

Most widely accepted


ful

is

earth,

a universal clas-

elements of "death,

the opinion that success-

pregnancy can be secured by the everyday use

the metal belt, the

of

wedding present of the bridegroom

and his parents. As material and form the pafti have


rich

their

semantic load. They remind of two eyes and base


influence

on

their

connection with the

human

attention, to

express readiness for marriage. With a

new specific form (wide girdle, the belt with pafti) it


becomes a sign of the married woman and secures
her successful pregnancy.

covers/hides the

It

woman's

not only protects but also


figure

and

visually repre-

sents her acquisition by the man. The active

partici-

pation of the father-in-law and the mother-in-law


giving

to

a present and the obligation of the bride

as

it

wear

during a given period (most often connect-

it

ed with conception and

gives ground to believe

birth)

expresses the protection and the acqui-

that the girdle

sition of the rights

in

on the

changed form the

woman and

her children.

protects the

belt

In

woman

old

agains death.

is

only the girdle that can be

compared,

female clothing.

load, with the

tic

costume

the parts of the traditional male

From

seman-

in its

interpreted as

is

It

it

producing, protecting, healing magic sign. Circling

way

spiral-like

the himan navel,

idea of the creation.

is

it

in

related to the

Bulgarian traditional concep-

In

tions about the creation and tripartite structure of the

world, the girdle designates the present and

alife

on

by being worn round the middle of the body.

earth,

power

Belief in the protective

tume has something

of this part of the cos-

to do also with the cirdle that

it

makes round the waist, "the center of human life". By


means of
we can easily achieve a magical, orgait

and

closed,

nized,

explains

which

presence

its

it

many

in

even the community from


turns

circular
ritual

space.

situations

forces.

evil

Its

in

strong effect

one of the clear male symbols with

into

its

means

central position at the wedding. Protection also

(and

This

designed to protect the man, the family,

is

it

protected

performed with the aim) to achieve closeness,

is

brotherhood; sometimes adoption or the family union


during

funerals,

those

alive girdle

the

loss

some member, when

of

beloved ones or give as presents similar strings from


their aprons.

themselves together. Connecting the


steal

ideas of a girdle and a family

bolism of internalization
of inheritance.

line

are on the

same

it

preserves the sym-

and the male


they say - they

into the family

For the relatives

And

girdle.

the

opposite act -

ture, of cutting, of stepping over the girdle

bol of

as a sym-

alienation or disruption of the family rela-

ritual

of breaking the marriage of the brothership.

tion,

"A

man

the girdle
rity

of rup-

and

is

usually related to the

the rituals on

nuances,

is

men. There
sels
right,

for marriage, sexual


first

participation

Christmas (koleduvane). Red,

the preferred color by


are, like in the

hangung on the

all

in
its

young unmarried

female dresses,

sides,

in

on the

left

lots of tas-

and on the

depending on the family status. The girdles

young men are completed with characteristic signs

of
of

sexual might and seduction - motley belts with many

woolen pendants.

In

the process of

munication they realize


dress. Young

girls

still

community

amulet during the

amorous com-

another function of the

prepare them especially for the

them round
that he

as a sign

their waists

has chosen a

girl.

worn as an

Hammered

Middle ages.

Highly

into

or

hanging from the leather belts are metal studs, solders' buttons, yellow pins, metal pieces
a small dagger, knives,

hanging

matu-

tie

them (sometimes

take

prized is the additional metal decoration,

without a girdle is not a man". Putting on

means readiness

them) and

to the

men

The young

down

Both with

rifles,

in

the form a

coins or metal chains,

to the thighs.

women and

with

men

the signs charac-

terizing the sexually active period, participation in the

reproduction of the community, are carefully deleted


with the
red,

coming

oi old

age.

The

brownish or darker, there

girdle

becomes dark

no tassels and the

metal accessories. The change "No more''


strated particularly categorically by one of

male symbols

in

demonthe most

is

the traditional costume. Irrespective

of the innovations, an expression of the

changed

sta-

tus or self-confidence, the generally accepted type of


the

woolen,

domestically

woven

remains unchanged and stands


disintegration of traditional

till

red
late,

male
till

girdle

the final

costumes. Within the

vil-

covered under the

carefully

skirts of the

decorative cylindrical pieces of cloth


the

new stockings. Most popular

They are made


different height

the ankle

of thick

predominantly white

In

(kaltzuni) or

wedding

some cases -

day. Preserved until late

red), decorat-

community

its

material,

manner

coloring,

wearing are not expressions of difference


standard. The girdle
clothing and attention
ual

the living

in

one of the male symbols

is

directed primarily to

is

of

its

in

sex-

and age symbolism.

SHOES AND SYMBOLIZATION OFTHEPOSITION "DOWN"


The

as a mark of the chthonic, a body sign

feet,

female sex, of sexuality, and fixing the most

of the

dangerous position
"down",

in

is

wedding cere-

woman

marked by the shoe.

Putting

woman's

status

practice

interpret-

is

body, which stresses

on

the

part of the

is

Balkans,

of her family necessarily receive

shoes as

They are accepted as a compensation

on her

children,

who

(as the

a present.

for the loss of

woman

herself) will

become members of a different family.


reflected in the way in which the sex of
born baby
is:

is

both

members

Christians and Muslims. The bride and the

right

position

life

on shoes

possession by the man. The marking

general

house

into the

husband, her transition to a new

ed as an act on the
its

of the

the position

marked, cov-

carefully

the Bulgarian

In

monies the incorporation


of the

human body -

most extremely

are

and protected.

ered,

the

is

It

the

announced. For the parents of a

also

newly
girl

it

"Happy slippers."
The wearing

of specific

coverings on the

feet are subject to struct rules.

can be

at specific

The foot

women's

of the

woman

occasions open, not covered, but

the space from the ankle to the knee

is

additionally

medi-

portraits with their characteristic

a high status. The traditions

their production

and use are well described.

They are made

lage

in

meaning

red color,
in

until St.

shoes resembling a

stocking - mesyovte. They can be seen

women's

to

and also preferred by

the brides are the soft leather

aeval

up

of

variant they are

ed with red braids, and are worn necessarily

George

and by

woolen material and are

their

(in

(kaltzi)

are the textile shoes.

- up to the knee

(terlitzi).

dress by the

of the special types of

shoe

the farmer, animal breeder, the craftsman

European ideological model that has

partite

creation

most

of

of

the

ancient

symbols

the

in

tri-

led to the

male

of

clothing. All these layers explain the choice, the con-

centration

attention,

of

zone "up to the knee"

Most
served

wool
legs

primitive
late

until

decorations,

signs

in

the

the traditional male costume.

and most widely used and pre-

are the white rectangular pieces of

the so-called navushta, which wrap the

(flax),

up

in

of

to the

knees

(rarely to the ankle)

and attached

by strings - black from goat hides, white from flax or

from

leather.

They combine with the most primitive

type of shoe (soul with strings), the so-called tzurvuli,


with

them

men

sharp or blunt points. The manner of wearing


is strictly

there

is

determined by age. For the unmarried

a strict rule for binding the contrasting

black strings - cross-like.

and put them

in circles.

Women

stop to cross them

To be more elegant they use,

as a finish to the general silouette, the kaltzuni

swen

from thick woolen material (resembling boots) and

leathers,

state

the

which

were famous on

coming

end

at the

the

of

Italian

of the Turks the

Second Bulgarian

markets as bulgaro. With

new

eastern form of the

shoes appear - paputzi, emenii,

katuri,

most widely spread and worn by

the

shoes without a heel -

be used by

that they can


rules, the

chehli. This

unmarried

women

all

is

konduri.

women

The

are the

aided by the fact

keeping the traditional

included.

Most popular

in

contemporary conceptions and most elementary

in

They are attached

to

form are the so-called


the

foot

ankle,
for

by specific tying

which

is

and

attachement to the

determined by the terrain - one way

mountainous places and another

But their use by

women

The male means


layer of social
ty.

tzun/uli.

In

knee"

is

for the

much more

restricted.

of covering the feet also

form a

communication, inherited from antiqui-

the Bulgarian heroic epics the leg


is

plains.

"up to the

one of the most popular parts of the body

used to designate the male transition (by being swallowed by a chthonic creature - a snake, a dragon)
and to mark actions and
uality.

The

towards the

zone

also

qualities

connected with sex-

directs

towards

the

agricultural function, the social

earth,

group of

the kaltzi

-without souls,

from the knee to

like legs

the ankle, "fastened with wire buttons. The Bulgarians

wear

under the knees - woven

additional decorations

belts.

Red, multicolored, decorated with tassels and

pendants, they are typical for the bridegroom and the

young

man

On holidays women wear


boots. The

shoes,

leather

wear shoes,

to

right

rarely

women,

like

is

received at the wedding and thus marks the family


status of the

man. Their made and

determine the

life

everyday use

their

standard of their owner. For most

people shoes are part of the festive clothing and the


rule

"shoes are bought once

in

ditional

and the processes

communities the most

modern shoes are used


peaks

in

the

life

of the married
In

of a

man

Despite the

lifetime".

costume remains out

large production this part of the


of fashion trends

the

in

achieved by

means

The

hierarchy.

social

exact fixing

is

and

of special hair styles, shawls

head decorations. To be understood and interpreted


they must be situated
societies,

ditional

in

the respective context.

In tra-

which are societies of images, of

models of behavior, there are signs generally acces-

general.

in

place

of change.

In

tra-

send messages that mark

to

man, from the higher position

to the priority of the well-to-do.

the process of disintegration

of

local

costumes,

men

signs on the feet of

are

mentioned the cos-

effective. In the situation

tumes play the

role of basic visual sign.

It

clothes are

objects,

in

prede-

is

termined by the fact that as different from

other

all

permanent contact with man

and by using them representatives of each group can


classify

easily

manner

themselves. The hair styles and the

of tying the

shawk

also

fix

social roles, give

signals for the responsibilities and thus regulate the

set of social relations.

and the most

primitive

and

sible

The care

for the

woman's

age and finds expression


cut

it.

The smaller

They are

girls

in

do

hair starts

from

early

the general prohibition to

their hair in simpler plaits.

by

parallel to their social time, characterized

more

limited social events.

riage

mark themselves by

The

girls

ready for mar-

uncovered

their

hair

in

(sometimes up

to

the last to survive.

STYLES
AND HEAD DECORATIONS
HAIR

TRADITIONAL

As symbolically the most


important part

head

body, the

human

the

of

analogous

is

and the

to the soul, the spirit

heavenly,

with

opposed

the cultural as

special attitude to

its

(the face

parts

rate

to the

female nature. There

material
is

male and

the

sepa-

and the

as symbols of physical

hair)

strength and sexual

and

of virtues

maturity,

qualities of the

personality.

The

as

hair

world spaces
ical

plan

is

marker of

a mytholog-

in

also

bearer

ancient messages, kept


ditional

commonly
health

the

one

and sexual potency of

of her

By

most

it

becomes

characteristic

plaiting/unplaiting,

covering/uncovering
hair

most

the connection with

woman. Thus

signs.

in tra-

concepts

of

of

the

one can demonstrate the

position of the
of the status

woman

in/out

system and her

combination with numerous

palits

22). Their hair styles are difficult to achieve, with the


specific thin plaits.

They are complicated but easy

wear because the motives


The

practical.

style of the hair

The unmarried

girls

doing them

for

do not

are

to

not

a clear sign.

is

rely

on what nature had

given them. They use additional decorations, which

increase the volume (respectively strength) of the

which speaks of the potency of


additional

impressions

on the

its

hair,

owner and makes

people

around. The

kosichnik, attached to the head and imitating natural


hair

is

(always

preferred,

side

made from

by side with

the

hair

of

the

artificial

girls

plaits

herself);

lates

forces and brings

ill-wishing

combinations

various

apotropaic objects are put on - bright

in

color, with

holes, shining, smelling and clinking objects.


is

to distract the

and to direct

attention

is

widely

strong,

of

why
known

That

evil.

The aim

from the uncovered

to that part of the decoration,

it

hair

which

can bear the bad eyes.

The

girl

who combines

flowers with specific

ing (kitka) to decorate her

her love for the young man,

he keeps her

In

his

who
of

love

are stressed. The flowers are taken


in

the

most

well

traditional

in

exchange the serious

the love

and are put

is

to express

them because

steals

heart - this

demonstration

established
aspect.

in

head and thus

mean-

intentions

from the

left

side

the right side of the hat or the dress

worn on the

right

by married people. This they give expression to

feel-

by the young man. The decoration

ings

of

clear

(kitka) are

wedding
ritual

Its

is

is

marriage intentions. The

live

flowers

included as an element borrowed from the

ritual,

they

embody

application

connected with the

(its
life

it

and

direct

relation to the

towards

it.

Arbor mundi)

process, the holy perfection,

with glory and immortality.

The unmarried
tive

woolen braids and


from thread;

strips

strings; multicolored braids


of fabric

made

stuck with small coins

and beads. The decoration covers the back while the


hair is

always down to the waist, which adds to the

general message. Also used are various woolen textile strips,

mainly

in

red, with

many beads, pompons,

coins, snails, tufts of wool hanging by the ears, put

as

strips

plaits.

The

abundence

across the forehead


hair

or

attached to the

and the accessories impress with the

of apotropaic objects.

The

hair,

which

is all

uncovered, must be kept from evel eyes, envious or


admiring, which consciously or unconsciously stimu-

woman possesses

still

another fes-

decoration for the head - the peacock feather,

bearer

addressed

sublime events

to the

her

in

life

Lazarov day, the engagement and

- the

ceremony.

wedding

the

messages

mythical

ancient

of

time

the

In

between them the feather of an ordinary


poultry

The expression

substitute.

tic

seman-

hair style as a

adds to the

that

she

is

under a feather means that she is ready


for marriage. The hair style and the decorations added to it are capable of making
such an announcement about the readipreferences of

ness, the desire and the

the

girl.

They give her an opportunity

for a

"conversation" on that topic with society,

The

fact that the sign

is

understood by the

end to the signification


communication.

interpreter puts an

the context of

in

While the uncovered hair

unmarried woman, there

of the

ried one.

Even more, taking

uncovered

ing the hair

strict

is

mar-

for the

such actions

prohibition for

to

a priority

is

the head cover and leav-

off

equal, following the

is

woman's

breaking the marriage. The covering of the

head

the middle of the 19th c,

until

the beginning of the 20th c.

is

in

some cases

This

covering.

connected

is

until

performed with the charby an ordi-

acteristic "covering with a hat" replaced later

nary

law,

ritual

by

scholars

the

to

primeval two-horn hair style of the old Slavic culture, with


aristocratic decorations, with the hats of the boyars in the

way

Bulgarian Middle ages as a


of old times

the

after

to preserve the

memory

imposition of the Ottoman

rule.

Stable data about this kind of head covering are offered

by
1

foreign

6th 1 8th

donors

c.

women's
in

During

14th

the

hats are used also

two centuries

the

of

from the monastery churches

and Kremikovtzi - wives

craftsmen.

Balkans

the

also presented in the images of church

the 15th c.

of

Dragalevtzi

and

is

It

about

notes

travel

later

in

of wealthy

and

15th

in

tradesmen
c.

similar

Western Europe, but only

they are forgotten and cause surprise

the travelers with their decorations of embroidery and

the brightness of the dress of the Bulgarian

woman.

Looking for the origins of this head decoration one

can establish impressive

similarities in the outer

more important, we

are sure of

appear-

ance but what

is

bolic function

- a sign of a married woman. There

its

symis

vast territory of distribution covering Central, Eastern and

Southeastern

Europe,

and the

people

along the

River

Volga. Research concerning different regions direct us to

deeply implanted mythical concepts. The specific form of


the cylindrical (tower-like) and conus-like (one-horn) hats
is

interpreted as a

(the

symbol

Scythian goddess).

connection with the

life

It

of the Great

Mother Goddess

stresses on

sexual potency,

cycle and the

Goddess

Ishtar.

The

two-horn head covers are comparabfe

bird hats or the

to horned female
that

gods

of

fertility.

it

becomes

clear

have been created as signs

their diversity they

in

Thus

of belonging to separate clans and tribal groups. There

are also cultural influences, but the hats and the hair

covers with married

and

mythological

is

which

is

The

to

thus

also

distinguish their group


social

something fundamental

in

and probably not only

in

culture

al

women

"covering

with

hat"

and symbolic

Bulgarian traditionit.

marks

important

an

r.v

moment

the

in

importance
als,
veil.

it

life

is

woman. Because

of the

of

its

social

always public and with a special

ritu-

most

often immediately after taking off the bridal

The

married

woman, whose

only

being "known - recognized" by society,


special

solemn signs

of the clothing.

advantage
is

Such

is

signified by
is

the lux-

urious royal decoration for the head of the Bulgarian

woman,

her

"symbolic

profit".

function the female hat,

In

its

representative

covered with coins, demon-

strates accurately the financial weel-being of the family

and the peak reached

in

the social hierarchy.

Depending on age and the status of the


separate
style

elements

of. the

head covering and the

may undergo changes. The

the wedding

is

two children the


covering the

woman

first

hair

to disappear after

the kosichnrk. After the birth of

one

or

becomes simpler. The pad in


head becomes more elementary. But even
hair style

in

a simplified form,

described

is

used

covering

the

the end of

till

with

and

life

hat

an

is

just

oblig-

atory element of the burial dress. Entering the group


of old
sign,

women

which

women

marked by a

is

clearly

shows

the

take minimal part

consists

in

covering the

in

special very simplified

new

role in society. Old

social

hair

life

and

their sign

completely and even

parts of the face. Their preparation for the transition

they express by hiding or covering their heads thus


distinguishing themselves from the others.

The Bulgarian man has

his hear neatly cut, he is

clean shaved and with well-formed mustach, with a


fur hat

on

his

head -

the middle aged


ation

tram

ation,

for

this

since

norm

in

it

a hat.

shows

The

is

the male principle -

It

is

is

life

ot

devisitu-

unshaven

cutting of the hair is obligato-

why

the

first

performed with the act of

so called strizhba.

image

life. All

signalizes an abnormal

cut their hair. That is

sexes

the prime of his

example mourning, when he

and without
ry

man

this is the traditional

made

eight places, primarily by the

women

division

never
of the

trie

hair cut, the

crosslike -

at three, five,

bestman (sometimes

his

boy whose parents are

wife, the father, the mother, a

and

alive)

always connected by

is

presents, greetings. The sense of

visits

all

of guests,

this is

"to rec-

ognize the child as the lawful successor of the father

and a member

By cutting the man's

ot society."

hair,

as different from the woman's, a special hair style

formed. From the end

of the

of the 20th c. this style

papers as a male
this

way

and

of cutting the hair

and remains only


is

plait

in

19th and the beginning

described

is

hair cut
is

is

ethnographic

in

round

it.

Gradually

connected with old men

the memories of informants and

long forgotten.

The main attention

from the man's

hair

stressed during the

first

shifted

is

to the hairs of his beard.

is

It

shaving of the bridegroom, an expression of a desire


for a

numerous

Shaving

family.

the beginning of sexual

reason

end

"male strength"

of

beard. The growing of


in

friends
role.

way

ritual

are

(at

of the married

marked by growing a long


a beard by the old man is done

present. This

man

marks
is

All

relatives

and

new place and


show his belong-

his

able to

group of the most active men, which does

not include the bachelors and the old


already).

man and

is

the age of 60-70).

By shaving the

ing to the

taken as a sign for

not done before marriage, while the

for that

is

life

is

The

traditional

image

men

(yet

of the Bulgarian

and

man

one single stable element,

contains

moustach. They owe much


even swear

in

man.

imposes

them, they

to

them.

To be bearheaded
the

the

impermissible for

is

Probably the

idea

observance

strict

of

limit

and

of the rules

turns the hat into a clothing with excep-

magic power.

tionally

head

the

In

19th

the

c.

covered with a fur hat (kalpak),

is

rarely a felt hat. Until the Liberation this is

the

fess

city

the

or

wrapped round

during

(saruk)

fabric

bottom. The special

felt

towel (peshkirche)

even

red

used during work and

is

holidays.

The

shepherd's

clothing also uses the shawl described as

a girdle for the head and the

one piece,

of

woolen

hood made

under the beard with

tied

Probably the oldest male

strings.

and

head

covers

doubt

priority is given to the

(sciallo

No

kukullis).

use of the hat

by sheep skin, the so-called kalpak, with


the fur closely cut on the outside and fur
lining

inside.

under

it

The second protective layer

formed by using a small woolen

is

hat - the podkapnik.

As
form

part of the costume,

male hats per-

their function to protect the

Not so

to present him.

much

man and

aesthetical-

but rather as a social position held

ly

in

the community. Traditionally wearing a hat

connected with

is

results of the

ness
is

in

the

and

quality

the

work done and industriousEntering pre-marital age

general.

marked by a

specific

form given to the male

community

Especially important for the village

the

is

use of a distinctive sign for marital status and the


possibility to signal readiness for

riage preferences. This


sive

is

marriage and mar-

the theme

communication. Central position


communication,

and

sion

women,
bunch

both

most

of
in

tumes they complete the creation of a set of signs,


subjected to one and the same rules, a specific language understood and used

self-exprefor

The formation
wreath

man

men

with

They also wear

and

the

peacock

feather.

it

whom

tilted to

is

it

pleteness

in

tucked down.

on the

as equal to social complete-

dressing

including

all

community

first

place there

at the

back

within the

the

local

male and female

hair styles,

elements of the dress peculiarities

hats,

worn

in

the traditional

space of the costume thus cre-

The

shirt,

right to

wear each of the

upper dress,

is

received

of

by passing to the next higher


the

the idea of a complex

right side

to the hair.

Strange and wonderful,

is

kinds of dresses

ating the horizontal level.


it

several basic

its

one side - for that pur-

pose they attach a chain, attach

tra-

They are realized by the idea about com-

ness. In the

the bottom

male and female

principles.

him from the

distinguishes

this

of signs in the

costume can be grouped round

The

leaves his hat protruding and with

and

pressed

and stick

WORDS

CONVERSATION WITHOUT

ditional

married

terri-

tory.

(kitka) of fresh flowers or dry flowers, the

analogical

top

Bulgarian ethnic

in

given to head decorations including the

is

unmarried

of traditional cos-

inten-

men and

for

As an important part

their diversity.

hat.

head covers
Its

acquisition

marks the

level of social hierarchy.

first

socialization

- with

and decorations are only seemingly confusing with


shirt (after christening the

child),

entering

fertile

age

- with

upper

the

according

dress

to sex), the marital

coat (you have

they symbolize the

nation

position. For the

status

-with the over-

woman

limit,

and a mother, for the man -

his

es

aprons,

shirts,

a wife

already no".

overdressing,

strates

marker each

of the

concepts

into

demona

social

elements rests on mythical con-

cepts about the structure of the

transforms

As

oversignification.

cosmos which

about

social

he

order and

norms

of social behavior. Mythical signs are reinter-

preted

as social. Thus the text of

each status group

A second
tional

the

is

for

created.

basic principle

clothing

from the

is

costume

trie

in

layering

signifying with tradiof the

decorations -

tions for the head to the covers for the feet.

It

cerns abundant presence or absence of the red


of bright materials, of

ments and additional

embroidered and

tassels,

textile

con-

principle

third

major zones
tical line

in

the

Signs are

accessories.

called

ver-

some elements

(head, waist, legs) by adding

created expressing readiness for marriage or state of


marriage. The hair (part of

or

it

all

of

it)

with the

demonstrated, by a special

ried is freely

unmarand

hair style

additional textile decorations or under the tilted hat.


is

It

necessarily covered (sometimes with two hats) with

the married

men and marked

shawls and a hat) with

by specific covers (sev-

their wives. At the

waist

we

have an opposition of the multicolored narrow belt with


tassels and pendants (unique for
al

for the

young

young boys) and the wide


for

color,

distinction

covered/bare

orna-

tzurvuli w\\h special

is

girls,

addition-

the metal

girdle,

those married. Round the legs the

belt with pafti

pompons, pendants or

on three

stress

the

includes

costume composition along the

which today would be

eral

the upper dress, from the decora-

shirt to

The

of

of several dress-

upper clothes,

belts,

volume and complete-

at

becoming

one combi-

becoming head

The simultaneous use

as well as the attempts

social

in

the family and later head of the house (the alderman


of the family).

ing,

highest

the

this is her

respect with the older children. The tradition in layer-

ness follow perfectly and demonstrate the scheme of


sexual status "not yet - yes already - yes still -

or you don't). United

it

separated

clothing

(the

croosed

with

feet

the

women;

of the ties against leather

shoes. The accents are the strongest with the young

woman

married
bride)

in

greatest
of

birth

the period of her


activity

one,

the

"till

two,

men

dren." With
is

{young

chil-

attention

focused on marking

his

readiness for marriage, on


the

period

the

woman

conquering

of

and setting up

a family.

As

costume
lished

and

(from old coins to jewels). Both for the

woman

for the

man

these are signs marking the repro-

ties to

mark

is

sign

the

so well estab-

that

deviation

metal

social

the

slightest

gives opportuni-

the transition, the complete lack of any

status, like during

mourning or with the young moth-

achieved by turning the clothes inside out

ductive abilities corresponding to degrees of maturity

er.

and the various types of sexual behavior allowed. The

(reversing the order), with destroying the decoration

decoration, entirely missing or scanty with the chil-

or

dren,

increas-

drastically

es with

ready for

those

marriage. Most abundant


is

it

with

woman

and

for

the

their

young
yound
which

importance

community. The

decoration
with the old
old

the

man,

married
proves

the

woman,

disappears

man and
equal

in

the
this

This

is

temporary removal

of

the

signs

in

the

three

zones
apron,

hat,

girdle,

shoes,

letting

woman's

loose of the

growing a beard

hear,

by men.

situations

All

based on the idea

are

that dresses cover the

- the natural,

body
and

turns

den

man

The

social.

mythically

the

becomes a

hid-

dress

his

in

leaves

into

it

the

alien,

and

non-cultural

The

social person, a product of culture.

reverse action brings things back.

For a long time the clothing of the Bulgarian

conditions of foreign oppression

ence

of

behavior

is

based on

under the

obeyance.

sense the government helped for

its

in

influ-

this

In

unification,

imposing restrictions on the signs of social status.

The heritage
wards",

in

important

is

in

"out-

Normally the

most

connected

with

clothing
signifying

included.

resources,

and consist

social belonging

rank

hampered communication

the Bulgarian traditional

why

a later stage. This explains


later

on when

fashion

comes

overpowering

to

be

like

of social

costume appear

at

they are so desired

new language,

into use... Valid

rule

symbols

of

the

language

of

even today under the

everybody

else,

but

preserved together with the mysterious nodding of


the

head,

opposite to

understood only
all

"foreign" yes.

in

his

community and

.."-

::

'

.:

::

'
.

^scufy ..,

s~ n r\i a k

JrL^TtU II I .AI/IAM
%
virixjmni ic
*
i

BULGARIAN

OF

HI.

REVIEW

&MMN BOOKS

A*DPOLYG*WW

EDITORIAL BOARD
Maya Nyagholova

I
1

Iva Nikolova

Simeon Vassilev

:
\\

Stoyan Raichevsky
rr
Shopov
Prof. Dr. Todor m

I:.

Editor-in-Chief

ova
Julliana Tom
juinana
luinuva

...

Editor
.;

Vassilka Shishkova

Graphic Design
Konstantin Radoslavov

::

:-

&
.

Translation

;
:

Maya Pencheva
- Desktop Publishing
Galya Gerassimova
-

BULGARIAN WOLONV

an edition of Bulgarian Bestseller


Company - National Museum of the
is

Bulgarian

Book and Poligraphy

:::

Editorial

and Advertising

Office
:\-

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.

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."

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