Wreaths and other hair ornaments made of flowers and herbs are an essential part of many of the Polish rural customs. Athough most of the customs became almost extinct on the course of the 20th-century modernization of the society, and are preserved mostly in local ethnography museums, there are still certain festivals bearing remnants to the pre-Christian Slavic rites still alive within the Polish culture nowadays. The bridal flower crowns are among the customs that faded away – but can be still spotted around, for example on reenactments of the traditional weddings by various ethnography organizations, in art and culture (including e.g. theatre or cinema), or on some rather rare occasions of weddings when the bride decides to wear a traditional Polish garment instead of the modern white dress.
This post is going to be more of a gallery with examples of the traditional flower crowns of the brides wearing the traditional Polish folk costumes, but of course I’m not leaving it here without at least a bit of the essential informations about this custom for you. Before I start, keep also in mind that the custom shared a lot of common elements coming from the same old Slavic roots – these are the elements I’ll try to describe – but naturally had a lot of regional flavours and differences.
The beauty of folk costume. Just like in other parts of the world, in the old days the folk clothing was one of the main elements of Polish rural culture inscribed into the rich patterns of festivities and rituals. These costumes were considered elegant, and were worn only for special occasions: religious celebrations, seasonal festivities, important life events like weddings. They were a cultural manifest of the origins in a small regional level. People could tell each other apart on the basis on small differences in the clothing. Clothing of some regions might be similar to an unskilled eye, but the tiny details like patterns of embroidery or colors and width of the striped fabrics were telling precisely from which town or village did the piece of clothing come. They differed in details important to the locals, and the details of patterns were often passed down from generation to generation. This way the locals in some regions were even able to tell a family from which a person wearing a costume came from.
Some of you who follow me for a long time might already know that I run a side project polishcostumes.tumblr.com. It’s an educational gallery where I collect modern photos and archival materials about traditional clothing from all regions of Poland found around the Internet. I invite you to visit the link later (it’s linked also at the bottom of this article) in case you want to browse through more images and discover more examples Polish folk clothing, or to see old photographs and drawings or details like closeups of embroidery. I prepared there also a list of regions where all the names of the places are organized in an alphabetical order. So far I gathered there photographs and drawings of over 80 regional types of Polish folk clothing.
Here in this article I want to present some of the regions as a simple list with photographs, in order to show you a great variety of the folk costumes in Poland. All the names are linked to proper tags in my gallery of Polish folk costumes where you can see more examples from the region.
Short side notes to keep in your mind: most of the types of costumes shown below have many subtypes, especially those that are defined by larger geographical regions. The pictures show only the most ‘typical’ examples. The regions have many also many types characteristic for different age groups or worn during different seasons of the year. I made myself a limit of maximum 2 pictures per type, and it’s often hard to show everything on them. The list doesn’t show also all the regions / types of the Polish costumes yet. I plan to keep updating it over time to add other regions and hopefully create a complete list of the clothing one day. I prepared the list below in an alphabetical order, the best way for me to check and update it in the future.
What some of you might already know, I love to stitch in my free time. It feels amazingly relaxing to see the patterns coming to life. I collect various materials about traditional Polish folk embroidery; recently I decided to reorganize them and came upon an idea of creating a set of patterns which I could share with you.
Personally, I love the cross-stitch technique and therefore chose examples of Polish embroidery in this particular technique for the set of patterns, with a few examples which can be transcribed into the cross-stitch.
I’m adding a few patterns below for a start, and have much more just waiting to be reedited and prepared for publishing here. This is a growing collection and this article will be definitely updated many times. If you’d like to use some other Polish patterns in your projects, make sure to visit this article again in the future to check whether something new appeared at the bottom.
Those of you who want to learn more about Polish folk costumes I can invite to take a look at the educational gallery I run at polishcostumes.tumblr.com (with a growing list of regional Polish folk costumes). Each pattern below is described with a name of a place in Poland it comes from, and the name links to a proper tag in the gallery in order to show you the traditional costumes from the region and to give you an idea of how the embroidery is used in them.
Side note: if you’re going to share or use the patterns, all I’m asking for is to link back to my blog ♥ Please do not crop the images in any way!
This is not a new trend, but something that’s been growing for many past decades and reached its peak in the recent years, with folklore traditions making a significant comeback into Polish culture. The trend has its roots in the region of Podhale, where a lot of local brides are wearing dresses with handpainted patterns.