Romanian Traditional Blouse Origin
The history of the Romanian traditional blouse begins in ancient times (5200-3200 BC), when the Cucuteni – Trypillian culture inhabited these parts of Europe. The Cucuteni people wore an ancient version of the traditional blouse, a simple T shape, made out of linen or hemp.
In pre- Christian times, these blouses had embroideries and designs which served a double purpose: beauty and protection against evil.
Romanians named the blouse ‘ie’, from the Latin ‘tunica linea’. The ‘ie’ is a blouse worn by women on special occasions like weddings, holidays or Sunday church.
The Romanian traditional blouse is different from one region to another. The Central and Northern regions use thick materials and heavy embellishments. The Southerners favor thinner fabrics. The ‘ie’ and consequently the whole Romanian traditional costume shows the persons’ association with a community or region.
The Making-of Romanian Traditional Blouse
Sowing the ‘ie’ was a winter occupation. Women from a village would come together and embroider patterns in a ritual- like manner with singing and prayers. In pre- communist times, each blouse was different due to the fact that each woman sowed her own blouse according to the patterns she envisioned. Blouses were always left unfinished because women believed that perfection didn't belong to humans but God.
What colors could you use?
The colors used for the threads expressed the age and marital status of the woman wearing it. Unmarried young women used bright yellow and orange. Women recently married wore red while blue was reserved for mothers. Older women or widows opted for black or dark blue.
Before the invention of chemical dies, villagers used natural dies to create warm, faded colors: leaves of chestnut or apple trees, mallow flowers combined with cabbage, vinegar and salt.
The most used pattern is the cross which has the job to protect the wearer. Deer antlers are some of the oldest patterns. They symbolize vitality and strength and are worn by women who want to get pregnant. The sun or the sun-flower are used to express human connection with both the divinity and mother Earth.
Is the traditional Romanian blouse coming back?
The communist era has turned the ritual of sowing your own blouse into mass production. So is it that today we can find only a handful of women all over the country that still sow the Romanian traditional blouse in an authentic manner.
Despite the decreasing number of craftswomen, the ‘ie’ is going through a revival period. On the 24th of June Romania celebrates the unofficial day of the Romanian traditional blouse and with it, we celebrate each nations traditional clothing.
So here’s our challenge for you: on Sunday the 24th of June, incorporate a traditional item of clothing in your outfit and share it with us on instagram using the hashtag #roaringromania so we can share it with the world. You can also follow the hashtag #lablouseroumaine for more pictures with the beautiful Romanian folk blouse.