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TRADITIONAL BULGARIAN CLOTHING - PART 2

After the first part of the article, in which we looked at the folk costumes in 3 districts - Dobrudja, Pirin and the Rhodopes, comes the other 4 typical folklore areas. In the lines below we will present what the typical costumes for the Northern, Strandja, Thracian and Shopski regions look like.

Northern men's and women's folk costumes

The uniformity of the beautiful plain south of the Danube river is not a prerequisite for the poor diversity of traditional folk costumes. The characteristic features of each of the seven Slavic tribes that participated in the formation of the First Bulgarian State left an indelible mark not only on the social order in the following centuries, but also on the species diversity of the national clothing. Even in primitive societies, clothing was one of the most striking features of individual tribes and clans, and this symbolism is preserved throughout the period of use of northern costumes, which lasted almost until the early 20th century.

The costume of the women from this region is from the so-called "Double apron" type. Characteristic of it is that it consists of front and back embroidered aprons. The back is called "bruchnik" /wrinkle/ or "back curtain" by northerners and is made of embroidered cotton fabric with pleats, velvet, gold braids and lace. The length of the back apron is different in various regions - increasing from west to east. The western aprons are more colorful, with a predominant red color, and the pattern of the eastern Danube ones is darker. The front apron is called "futa" and it is interesting that along the river Vit, in Central Northern Bulgaria, there are two front aprons. The Danube girls' shirt is made of cotton fabric, embroidered with lace on the sleeves, and the skirt is made of red woolen fabric.

The men's northern suit consists of tight pants, which under the influence of Venetian fashion were called "benevrets". The shirt, white and cotton, is richly embellished, with an embroidered sleeveless or elbow-length embroidered garment called "djamadan". In combination with the decoration of the outer garment also was the belt - red in color, and in the cold the northerners wore knee-length outer garments with full sleeves.

Women's Strandzha folk costume

Strandzha - the mountain of secrets and the wide, golden, rounded hills, adhering its western slopes to the Thracian region, is represented by a folk costume, very similar to the one worn in the lowlands. The rich colors and colorful combinations in the elements of the Strandzha costume catch the eye and bring diversity and individuality in the appearance of Strandzha people.

The women's costume is а „sukman“ /dress/, beautifully combining the colors of the tricolor. The main element - the dress, is made of dark woolen fabric with a closed tunic-like shape. It is richly decorated with woven multicolored ties, braids or lace. The front apron, called "fusta" /skirt/, usually combines several colors - white, green, red and yellow to contrast with the dark fabric of the dress. Part of the costume is the woolen belt, which is also colored - red, orange or dark wine.

The clothes of the Strandzha boys are black. The white shirt is worn with an outer garment - a vest or „aba“ made of black wool. The abа is a short woolen garment, usually with a low collar and close to the body, with long and narrow sleeves. The wide cut is typical for the “poturi” / pants/, which are called "shalvari" due to the drooping bottom. They are made of black braid and are richly decorated, and at their upper end are girded with a red belt.

Thracian men's and women's folk costumes

Thracian girls are said to be beautiful and proud. Dressed in a long shirt made of white cotton with exquisite embroidery, similar to the Bulgarian ones in other folklore regions, they radiate tenderness, cheerfulness and joy. On their shirts in the past they wore a sukman made of red woolen fabric with ornaments of black embroidered velvet and black braid. A black woolen apron with white lace covers the front of the dress, and the cross is wrapped in a narrow belt with a patterned cloth or belt with buckles. The decoration of the head is rich - wreaths, wrists, coins, beads and feathers, and somewhere there are hats covered with a towel.

The men's Thracian costume is of “black-cloth” type and consists of black bows with braids, red or green woolen vest with black ornaments and a white cotton shirt. It is variegated with red, blue, orange, white and green colors, and the ornaments are mostly red, with plant motifs. Red or cherry is the color of the wool belt, and the hat is black and made of sheepskin.

Shopska men's and women's folk costumes

The Shopska folk costume is distinguished by its mountain scent and field bright color range. Women in all Shopski regions wore a sukman type of costume. The traditional set of clothes consisted of a long embroidered shirt made of white cotton fabric, the sleeves of which are extended downwards; black or blue woolen dress with white or red woolen cord embroidery. The belt, depending on the dress, is also blue or black with a white or red braid. In Graovo the dress is black and the locals call it "litak".

The folk costume worn by the men in the Shopski region is white-clothed. White and cotton, the embroidered shirt was worn under a blue or black vest with a braid, similar to a woman's dress. The trousers are narrow and made of white and coarse woolen fabric – “shayak”, and the decoration is with white or black braid. Like the natural belt surrounding the Sofia field, a black or red woolen belt encircled the boys of Shopski region through the waist.