Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I've got a bunad

So, my grandmother died last fall, you may remember ... and of course she had a house full of stuff that my mother and my uncle are having to decide what to do with. They've been asking all of us about what we want from the house, if there is anything we want. I really just wanted one thing ... a small white porcelain vase with flowers painted on it; Linnea borealis, my grandmother's favorite flower. That was the one thing I really really wanted. And I did get it. I don't think any of the others wanted it much. So I was happy about that. But there were other things I wanted too ... like some of the tapestries my grandmother made, she had a number of them that she'd made and kept and I always loved seeing them. So now I have two of those. And there were a few other things like that ... like the green glass jug that she and I always used for our drinking water when we had dinner together, when I visited her. Things that mean something to me, but perhaps not so much to the others. :-)

And then there's the one kind of big thing that I also wanted - my grandmother's bunad. Which is what exactly? Well, bunad is a non-translatable Norwegian word that is used to refer to traditional folk costumes and their modern counterparts. The word comes from Old Norse, it just means clothing, garment. You can see a bunch of pictures here. I had one when I was little, but I outgrew it and never got a new one. I've never been that into them, really ... but I did always think that when the time came I would get one, because I would inherit my grandmother's. You're supposed to wear one from whatever district you come from ... or where your family comes from. Sure, no one can stop you picking another one, but it's frowned upon. :-) Only the royals are allowed to wear bunads from anywhere & everywhere. So I could have the one from the East Valley, where my mother's from ... it's kind of pretty but not very. I could have the one from North Møre, where my father's from ... that one is also pretty nice but not one of the stunning ones. I could have the one from Bærum, where I grew up ... but that one's totally boring IMO. And since I live in Oslo, and was actually born in the city too, I suppose I could have the Oslo one. But, meh. Pale blue is so not my favorite color. :-) Anyway, besides these there are various more local ones too ... and the one my grandmother had is from Folldal, where she came from. To be honest, I don't think that one's very pretty either. :-) But it was hers, so I want it. :-)

What does it look like? Well, the skirt is blue - royal blue, I guess we can call it - with some pleating at the waist, and goes down to mid-calf. The bodice is also blue, and plaid in blue and red. The shirt is white with red embroidery on the cuffs and in a bar down the chest. The belt is a woven ribbon, white with blue edging and a red embroidered pattern across. It's worn with red stockings and the standard black silver-buckled shoes. Which I don't have, so I'm borrowing my mother's. ;-)

I always assumed I'd inherit this, because my mother already has one, my aunt isn't from Folldal so she can't wear it, and I'm the only female grandchild. Well, there's my secret cousin too, of course ... but I'm the only official one. :-) And in any case, my secret cousin is probably too tall to wear our grandmother's bunad, anyway. :-) I thought I was probably too skinny, but guess what, I'm not. :-)

Because of course I did get it. And yesterday I went to my parents' house to try it on so my mother could do the alterations we were both sure would be necessary in time for Constitution Day, when I plan to wear it. (It's on May 17th.) But surprise surprise, I fit almost straight into it. Hardly any alteration necessary. She's going to take it in a little bit in the back, but that's all. And she doesn't really have to, I could wear it as it is. We were pretty amazed. :-) But of course nothing could be better. :-)

The only weird thing is that the silver is still at my grandmother's house. (A bunad is traditionally worn with special silver jewellery.) The cufflinks were in the shirt, but the rest is at grandma's house. OK, whatever, but I've been assuming that whoever gets the dress will also get the silver. I mean, you can't use it without the dress. So ... weirdness. But until proven otherwise I will just take it as an oversight and assume I'll get the silver later. For now I'm borrowing my mother's. I have two pieces myself, but they're from the bunad I had as a girl, and they're tiny, so ... it'd look seriously weird with just those. :-)

I'll have someone take my picture on the 17th and post it afterwards, so you can see what it looks like. And hopefully I will get some good pictures of others too. There are soo many different ones. But you should choose one that has meaning for you. And there is no other bunad that could ever mean as much to me as my grandmother's does. :-)


Paz said...

They are cute, does yours have a scarf type head gear too or the pointy ones(my knowledge of ladies fashion can not be surpassed)?
Its a wonder that you have not gotten your talented friend to make a costume for you, tho I know she does not take commissions.
Great idea that ye all dress up in the national costume on the 17th

Elin said...

Yay for bunad! I think I may wear mine on 17 May. ;-D

Leisha Camden said...

No, the Folldal bunad has no headpiece. At least as far as I know.

My 'talented friend' - do you mean Anéa? No, she doesn't take commissions, although I'm sure she'd do me a favor if I asked and she was able to. :-) She doesn't really do bunads though - she had embroidered a jacket or a shirt for one once, but she mainly does replicas of theatrical costumes (read POTO ;-) and of outfits from paintings. Did you look around her gallery? She's pretty amazing, all the gowns she'd done ... !!

Elin: Yes, yay!! You should wear yours!! :-)

Paz said...

Still a nice outfit, nice that ye wear them, for our national holiday the world dress's up in Oirish outfits, except the Irish.

Anonymous said...

På denne sida finner du en forgjenger til folldalsdrakta - fra slutten av 1700-tallet:

(Høyre spalte, litt ned.)

Ellers finner jeg det rart om det ikke eksisterer et hodeplagg til bunaden, i alle fall for gifte kvinner. Men utover 60-tallet ble det mindre vanlig at gifte kvinner dekka håret. Det med hodeplagg til bunaden er vel noe som har kommet tilbake de seinere tiåra eller så.

Leisha Camden said...

Paz: lol!!!

Takk for tipset, raagraaum!! Mulig at det eksisterer et hodeplagg til den, jeg har bare aldri sett det ... men denne bunaden ser man jo nesten aldri heller, og jeg har aldri vært i Østerdalen på 17. mai. Har ikke satt meg veldig inn i det. :-) Du har uansett rett i at dette med hodeplagg til bunad - og annet tilbehør også, kniv til mannebunader f.eks. - er noe som har kommet mer og mer de siste åra. Bestemoren min fikk jo bunaden sin for herrens mange år siden - ikke sikkert hodeplagg var 'på moten' den gangen. :-)