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Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Krakow Polish Folk Costume

Dearest hearts,

It's hard, especially in the summertime - when so many events happen throughout the city, not to catch a glimpse of the Krakow Folk Costume. It's one of the kind, colorful and vibrant - it always puts a smile on my face when I see it, especially when small children are involved, they look like little flowers preparing to bloom. The Krakow Folk Costume is one of the most well known Polish Folk Costumes and maybe that's why it kinda grew to the rank of national traditional folk costume in Poland. In case you did not know, Krakow is the true heart of Poland, it's cultural heritage being the strongest here. It is only normal and logical to adopt Krakow's Folk Costume as The One for Poland. 
The origins of the Krakow Folk Costume can be traced to the Renaissance time, but the current version started to be quite popular in the beginning of the 18th century. 
A Cracow costume is the only peasants' attire which was promoted to the rank of a Polish national costume. This decision was made on patriotic grounds, with the Cracow's peasants’ participation in the Kościuszko Uprising as a main factor. Even the Uprising's leader, Tadeusz Kościuszko, used to wear the Cracow costume (so he dressed "like a peasant") just so that he would not be recognised by Russian spies. Kościuszko's popularity contributed to the popularisation of the Cracow costume among the Poles in general. Some of the costume's elements were applied to the uniforms worn by participants of the 19th century national uprisings. This popularity of the Cracowian costume, especially in its female version, was then reinforced by the Cracow’s intelligence of the Young Poland (Młoda Polska) movement, who promoted it as a new fashion.[source: The State Ethnographical Museum in Warsaw]
The most obvious and typical part of the Krakow Folk Costume, in the men's attire, is the hat with peacock feathers, flowers and occasional ribbons (especially if we are talking about a wedding attire). The hat is usually dark blue or red and it is high, with 4 corners. The peacock feathers are a must, the more the merrier! - peacocks are considered to be royal birds, reminding people the fact that Krakow is a Royal city, a place where kings lived! The second most important part is the Kaftan - the long, sleeveless vest, dark blue or black, made with red motifs. The main decoration in the men's attire is the leather belt, worn over the Kaftan - white with red & additional metal and beads. 
The women's attire in the Krakow Folk Costume can variate a bit more but... I'll try to break it down and make it simple ;) let's start with the head: The Crown of flowers is being worn only by children and women who are not yet married. Married women have white cloth to cover the hair or use triangle scarves. Women braid their hair in a single braid and tie it up with red sash. Of course women also have their "vest" like the men, but more feminine. It actually is a tight bodice (corset) worn over a white (usually long sleeve) blouse. The skirts are a beautiful and colorful addition, as they are usually green, red and sometimes blue with multiple small colorful flowers. Due to the skirt, bodice and head attire, it's quite obvious that not much else is needed in term of accessories. The addition is the red korale - red beads - and red sminka - lipstick. 

Have you ever seen these beautiful Folk Costumes live? Have you ever been to Krakow or joined a traditional Polish events where you catch a glimpse of these colorful clothes? I would love to hear your stories :) 

Yours very much sincerly, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Krakow Folk Costume - especially the women colorful "wianki", flower crowns 💐🌸❤