Sunday, 26 February 2017

Traditional Welsh Costume

On the 1st of March each year, Wales celebrates its patron saint, Saint David.  Traditionally, the celebrations are focused in Eisteddfodds in schools (mini festivals of music, performance and literature).  We might eat a traditional Welsh dish, such as laverbread, Welsh cakes, Bara Brith, or a nice bit of lamb.  Some of us wear a daffodil or leek brooch pinned to our coats, and children are sent off to school in traditional Welsh costume.  Boys get to wear flat-caps and pretend to be miners, and girls wear rather witchy black hats.  But why should the children have all the fun?

This year I was determined to show my patriotism for my beloved homeland Wales, and share with you our traditional Welsh costume.  Countrywomen were wearing the iconic black hats in the early 19th century, and although English visitors thought it was a Welsh thing, apparently the clothing wasn't that different to country attire back in England.  However, Lady Llanover seized upon the costume in an attempt to preserve Welsh identity, and it stuck!  So, in possibly the most outlandish outfit that's ever featured on this blog, here I am in traditional Welsh dress.

Welsh costume


Welsh costume

Welsh costume

Welsh costume

Welsh costume

Welsh costume

Welsh costume

Welsh costume

Welsh costume

Welsh costume
Skirt: Vintage, thrifted
Blouse: Vintage, thrifted
Bolero: Thrifted
Boots: Jones the Bootmaker
Scarf (worn as shawl): Peacocks
Traditional Welsh hat: Gift Shop at the Rhondda Heritage Park

I'm proud to be Welsh.  Although I was born and raised in Wales, I don't have a Welsh accent, and I can only speak a few words of the Welsh language.  But language doesn't equal identity.  I've been lucky enough to travel across many continents of the world in my life so far, but the Welsh mountains have always called me home.  Wales has given the world Aneurin Bevan (founder of the NHS), Laura Ashley, Dylan Thomas, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Richard Burton, Roald Dahl, and John Cale.  Not to mention Gavin and Stacey.  That's not bad is it?

I really enjoyed wearing my costume on our trip to the National History Museum, the reaction from children was particularly priceless, staring at me wide-eyed as though I was a Disney Princess!  I obviously didn't walk around the whole day dressed in the full Welsh garb.  I took off the apron, and put on a leather jacket.

Welsh costume

If you're interested to see more pictures of traditional Welsh costume, there are many photos online hosted by the National Library of Wales on Flickr that you can browse at your leisure.  Here's a glimpse!

Two women in national dress drinking tea (Jones) NLW3363089

Linking up with: #iwillwearwhatilikeVisible MondayPassion for Fashion

33 comments:

  1. I think it's awesome that you've shown us traditional dress - I feel a bit stupid as I'm British but I didn't even really realise you had such a thing over in Wales. I can't think of an equivalent costume here... Thanks for educating me ;) xx

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    1. I think it's another one of those things that we just totally take for granted here in Wales. We're so self-deprecating normally (apart from for the rugby when we can't help ourselves being incredibly vocally proud to be Welsh!). If you want one of the hats I could get you one ;)

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  2. Love this! I am Welsh but have lived in England for nearly 30 years. I do miss seeing the children going to school in their costumes on St David's Day. Well done you! Nicola

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    1. Thanks Nicola, glad to bring a bit of Welshness to you through the computer!!

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  3. I love this! So great seeing you get dressed up to show your Welsh pride and have fun. Hearing the story of the reaction of the children is particularly priceless in its own right too <3

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    1. It was really amusing seeing their awestruck faces, bless them!

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  4. Wow! What a fun experience and brilliant that you were able to take photos in the museum.

    The hat in the costume is something else. I need to look up the history of such an unusual piece.

    I was sure you'd have a Welsh accent. Ah well...I'll just listen to the guy from Master's Of Sex.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Michael Sheen! He's moving back home, not far from us.
      I went away to England for university, think I lost my Welsh accent then.

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  5. Brilliant photos! You're totally rocking that Welsh bonnet, too.
    Tom Jones is a god! xxx

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    1. You won't find us disagreeing about Tom. My husband interviewed him once!

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  6. Wow such a wonderful costume and gorgeous photos, I love that old style cottage...so much history! :)

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    1. The history positively oozes out of the walls, you can feel it Supposed to be haunted too!!

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  7. What a wonderful set of photos, and you really rock that traditional Welsh costume! You have every reason to be proud of your home country. Now I'll have to find a Welsh bonnet next June! I can speak of couple of Welsh words too ... xxx

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    1. Keep me posted on your travels, an international blogger meet up would be fun!!

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  8. Love this setting and your amazing period costume. Great to be proud of your country! xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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  9. Beautiful traditional costume you put together. I like it even with the black leather jacket! Stunning scenery as well.

    Theresa

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    1. I have to admit I liked the hat with the jacket very much!! I'll have to wear it again next year ;)

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  10. You look lovely in your traditional costume, and the location is perfect, of course. Seeing the kids all dressed up must be delightful, it must look really cute on the little ones. I can definitely see how without the hat and apron though it would look fairly "normal" and really good!

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    1. My Facebook feed was full of friends' kids in their little Welsh costumes, they all looked adorable.

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  11. Thank you for sharing this post. The outfit is lovely. Enjoy March 1st.
    Marilyn

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  12. How cool is this! I love that you're so in touch with your roots, and honestly, I think the costume is really cool. I'm digging the witchy hat, and it's fun how you made it feel more modern by throwing a simple leather jacket over the top. Thank you for cluing us in on an interesting aspect of Welsh culture.

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    1. It's a funny thing, I look at all these bloggers all over the world with their wonderful cultures and costumes and sometimes forget that my own country has a cultural history too. I don't know why we play it down so much in general here in the UK and Wales, but I'm glad that this post has been so interesting for people! And it was a hell of a lot of fun dressing up like that ;)

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  13. Oh such a beautiful traditional costume that you wear so well, thank you for sharing. I love these wonderful photos. I love the leather jacket over top at the end too x

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    1. I actually quite liked the leather jacket with it as well, but I don't think I could get away with wearing the hat on any day except St David's Day unfortunately!!

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  14. Are the boots accurate?

    One of the things I really came to appreciate when I was at uni in Wales is the way the arts, especially poetry, literature and music, are so well-loved by everyone. Sometimes in England it feels as though the arts are seen, at best, as something only for people gifted and/or wealthy, at worst, a pointless waste of money. We're throwing away our culture. (One of my monthly direct debits helps to support a local grassroots arts organisation for that reason.) Hooray to people in Wales for appreciating and maintaining theirs.

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    1. The boots would have been traditional black boots probably with buttons rather thsn laces. Skirts would have been ankle length so I'm using lots of artistic licence here!!

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  15. I appreciated learning more about your wonderful Welsh culture dear!! Thank you for sharing!

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  16. I do love me a good bit of dress up. And if a museum or country house has a dressing up box, I'm diving in, pushing kids out of my way! Love your traditional Welsh outfit. The black hat is particularly fab!

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