The culture of historic clothing has played a major role in rural Bavaria for more than 200 years. While traditional costumes once served as work clothes, these splendid outfits now shape the Bavarian sense of identity. The Bavarian people still use traditional items of clothing to demonstrate their regional identity today and thus make a significant contribution to the Myth of Bavaria. They show how deeply rooted they are in their homeland and proudly share their Bavarian attitude to life with the outside world.
Dirndl, Lederhosen and traditional shoes: for many years the modern generation has carried on the old traditions and ensured that original Bavarian dress never goes out of fashion. In the high Alps of the Allgäu, for example, they still make Haferlschuhe (traditional shoes) and in Franconia Flitterkränze (bridal crowns) are crafted from coins and glass beads. In the Bavarian uplands tailors stitch Lederhosen, while in Mittenwald Gamsbart binders hold a competition to demonstrate their skills at hat decoration – all painstakingly crafted by hand.
TrachtTracht is the high-german word for costume, derived from "tragen" (to wear) and originally denoting the costume of a certain class in a certain region at the then current time. Nowadays it means the traditional costume of a certain region, based on (usually) what the Tracht movement of the late 19th/early 20th century postulated as being traditional. The most widely worn Bavarian Trachten of the mountainous areas are namely: Miesbacher Tracht, Werdenfelser Tracht, Chiemgauer Tracht an das well Allgäuer Tracht.
Folklore clubs preserve regional distinctionsThe folklore movement enjoyed a real boom back in the 19th century. King Maximilian II was the first to lay down the law as to what was considered correct folklore dress and what not. The Wittelsbacher saw the introduction of a national costume as being something which would "increase a feeling of national cohesion amongst Bavarians" enabling them to hold their heads high in the face of Prussian self-confidence. Maximilian II was the first King of Bavaria to wear a folklore costume himself.
At the end of the 19th century as this traditional form of dress was almost dying out Josef Vogl, a teacher from Bayrischzell, founded together with his friends the state’s very first folklore group. Today, the Miesbacher folklore group and its costume is one of the most famous in the world. This historic dress originated from the folk dress worn by the people of the Bavarian Alps. It has very distinctive features that help identify which region the dress is from and the social class of the wearer. Throughout Bavaria folklore groups are ensuring that the original regional costumes are kept alive and great attention to detail is paid to ensure the authenticity of the styles and the material. There is still considerably more variations amongst the women’s dress than the men’s.
The Miesbach costume comprises a long-sleeved dirndl with the skirt in the same colour, a white blouse and an apron, white silk socks and black leather shoes. Traditionally, the skirts and corsets are either blue or dark red.
The Chiemgau costume always has a black corset. The men wear a linen shirt, short lederhosen, traditional shoes known as "Haferlschuhe” and a hat with chamois hair tuft known as a "Gamsbart".
The women’s costume in Berchtesgaden has a round hat with a cord with a gold thread.
Lively folklore traditions and customsMiesbacher Land, generally agreed to be the cradle of the folklore movement, is still today a lively centre of Bavarian traditions and customs. More than anywhere else in Bavaria, it is here in Miesbacher Land that you will see people wearing folklore dress not only on high days and holidays but also as they go about their day-to-day business. Styles vary according to the occasion, the age of the wearer and their social class. Some of the regions annual events and festivities even call for the original Miesbach costumes to be given an airing.
Go to www.trachtenvereinmiesbach.de to find out more (German only).