Accepted Paper:

Folk сostumes during the ritual year and changes in life, in a parish in Dalecarlia, Sweden. Continuity, values, revitalisation  


Katarina Ek-Nilsson (Institute for Language and Folklore, Sweden)
Britt Eklund (Institute for language and folklore)

Paper short abstract:

In one Dalecarlian parish, there used to be a kind of dressing that was thoroughly locally peculiar and homogeneous. There were hundreds of rules for how to dress around the year. We will explain why this extreme dressing tradition developed, and discuss what the revitalization stands for.

Paper long abstract:

A joint presentation by Katarina Ek-Nilsson and Britt Eklund, Institute for Language and Folklore, Uppsala, Sweden.

In the parish of Boda, like in many other parishes in the county of Dalecarlia, there used to be a kind of dressing that was thoroughly local and homogeneous. This dressing tradition was still alive until far into 20th century. We hesitate to call the dressing folk costumes, because there were no other clothes than the locally peculiar garments at all. Everyone followed the same rules for dressing and the variations over the year (dressing calendar) and during life status. There were hundreds of rules for how to dress on Christmas Day, for Lent, Easter Day, "normal" Sunday in the summer, in the winter, for Prayer Days, and always with differences depending on your life status: married or not, confirmed or not, and of course for different occasions like weddings and Holy Communion, not to forget about the everyday and working clothes. It was not possible to break the rules, in which every garment had its meaning and symbol. This very homogeneous dressing has its demographic, social and economic explanations. The population was extremely homogeneous, every family being land-owners and nobody poorer than anyone else.

In the last decades there has been an increasing interest for the real old clothing traditions, from before 20th century. We will discuss what this growing interest stands for. The presentation will be followed by a rich choice of pictures and even authentic garments from 19th century.

Panel Heri013
Folk costume in the ritual year and beyond: heritage, identity marker & symbolic object (Ritual Year SIEF Working Group panel)