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Bulgarian traditional clothing. Folk costumes

“Nosia” is called the traditional folk clothing of the Bulgarians from the Renaissance to the middle of the 20th century. It intertwines the beliefs, traditional culture, society and way of life of the Bulgarian people. The traditional Bulgarian costume is perceived today as an expensive relic, which with its artistic perfection and variety, with the skills of the hands that created it, arouses true admiration. The costume also has a rich semantic content and is rightly considered an expensive cultural and historical heritage for Bulgarians.


There is a great variety in the traditional costume of the Bulgarians, by regions within the Bulgarian ethnic territory. The costumes for which there are sources and origins are mainly from the end of the XVIII, from the XIX century and the beginning of the XX century. Traces from earlier times can be found in some of them. The knowledge about the Bulgarian costume has reached us, thanks to the field research on the Bulgarian folk costumes of remarkable personalities from the past such as: Ivan Bogorov, P.R.Slaveykov, S.Chilingirov, L.Karavelov. From the second half of the XIX century and the beginning of the XX century are the works of F. Kanits, K. Irichek, U. Munrou and others. With their direct observations and stories, they contribute to the socio-psychological portrait of the Bulgarians, including the folk costume. Huge is the contribution of Dimitar Marinov for Bulgarian ethnography, who devoted many years of his life in field research and studies on Bulgarian territory.


Back in 1907 Dimitar Marinov said: "There where I at its ethnographic and folklore studies 20 years ago was drawn boundaries of folk costumes ... there today found these limits or less recognizable or completely erased, over these 20 years it has been amended”.


"Bulgarian folk costume is the subject of research interest of many Bulgarian ethnographers from later time as St. L. Kostov, Hristo Vakarelski, Maria Veleva, Ganka Mihailova and others. Their works are a source of knowledge for all of us.

                                            The Bulgarian traditional costume


"Clothing occupies an important place in the folkore culture. Undoubtedly, its utilitarian application, but in pre-industrial societies it has another not less important function - ethnic. Through its fabric, color, cut and decoration, the clothing shows the nationality, residence, gender, age, marital status, occupation, social affiliation and religion of the wearer. Different ethnographic groups of the population live in the Bulgarian ethnic territory. Among them there are four main varieties of women's costume: two-apron - typical of the Danube plain; single-apron - found only in some settlements of the Western Rhodopes until the beginning of the XX century; soukman (pinafore) type - covers the central, mostly mountainous and partly flat areas of the country and the type saya, which is distributed south of the type soukman (pinafore) costume. According to the color of the fabrics, men's costumes are divided into two groups: white and black. Their division is not territorial, but temporal. The black costume, the fruit of the commodity production of the abadjii, gradually displaced the earlier white costume from east to west. During the Revival there was a greater variety in clothing. It changes and enriches, depending on changes in taste and material, the emergence of new factory goods and foreign loans. At the same time, there is a transition from the traditional costume to a new type of clothing serving the craft and trade circles. From the beginning of the 20th century, with the disintegration of the traditional way of life, the old costumes of the Bulgarians gradually became obsolete, until finally they were completely forgotten. Today they can be seen "live" only in museums or on the stage of major folk festivals and fairs."

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Angel Yankov, ethnologist 

Gallery "Bulgarian traditions"