A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Chapter 11

Traditional Dress (Tracht)

By Josef Schramm
Translation by Brad Schwebler

   The German immigrants brought the traditional dress with them to the Batschka from their original homeland.  In the new homeland village the traditional dress changed some.  There one dressed and spoke like the majority which were not considered as ridiculous.  So it came to pass that every village had its own traditional dress.  One could guess the homeland village by the traditional dress.  Special care was paid by the girls to the traditional hairstyle.  The small plaits and ribbons, the small chains and blouses and finally the many stiff slips belonged just as well if one wanted to be a “big girl”.  First one had to differentiate between the work day and the Sunday dress.  The work day dress consisted of a lot of blue and red, the Sunday dress favored white and black, there were several slips which were just as firmly starched as the blouses.  Winter coats could not be worn sooner because they had warm woolen shawls which the married women wore with headscarves.

   In the larger villages the social position of the girls and women was decided within the villages by the traditional dress.  So there were traditional clothes for farmers, one for craftsmen, one for workers, and one for the “imperious”, that is the supposed or real village intelligence.  These individual groups also danced in their own respective inns.  The “imperious” were allowed to sit at a table with girls and were also allowed to go dancing in the other inns without being looked at as being especially crooked.  Inside these social classes there was a further separation according to the ages and alas if somewhat near a recruitment dance the 95’er wanted to dance a younger person.  The new times have also greatly eased the difference here, so that a day worker is also allowed to go in the dance hall of the farmers.  However it frequently came to separation after a worldly point of view.  In one inn the “Madjaronen” danced, in another the “Kreuzfahrer” (crusader), or the “Christusjugend” (Christ’s youth), in another the “Kulturbündler” (cultural club members).

   For example, these five pictures serve to show how different the traditional dress is in the individual villages.  In Kernei they loved dark colors.  For vague reasons they favored dark flowers and other dainty motifs.  The girlfriends liked to dress the same or similar to show their belongingness to the outside.  In Bukin they liked a greater diversity.  Finely pleated skirts were characteristic here, which left behind a bouncy impression by the walk or at dances.  Lighter colors were favored here and the basic colors were dark red, dark blue, and white.  The women in Bukin wore bonnets or head scarves, the girls had a decorative hair piece.

   In Protestant Kleinker the traditional dress changed quicker than in some Catholic communities.  They even went more for the “fashions.”  These fashions were designed by individual village seamstresses and then imitated in their own village and the surrounding area.  In Kleinker they wore less slips than in other villages. – In Filipowa they favored dark clothes, often with light aprons.  In Weprowatz the light colors were favored.

   The traditional dress of men with dungarees, long coats, and wooden shoes did not keep long.  The dark “Leiwl” with the silver buttons were newly introduced in the ‘20’s.

[Published at 19 Sep 2005 by Jody McKim Pharr]

Heritage » Collections » Schwebler » Schramm » Traditions » Tracht