March 6, 2014

1023 POLAND (Greater Poland) - Girls in traditional Bamberg costumes in Poznań

Located on the Warta river, Poznań was an important cultural and political centre with centuries before the Christianization of Poland, becoming later the capital of Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), and, for a short time, even the capital of the kingdom. After a long time of prosperity, in the 17th and 18th centuries the city was severely affected by a series of wars, plagues and floods, which practically depopulated it. Following, in area were brought, in several waves, Dutch and Bambergian settlers, exclusively Catholics, as ordered in 1710 August II the Strong, Elector of Saxony, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. The polonisation of the latter ones, subsequently named Bambrzy, was, beyond all doubt, a voluntary act and happened very quickly. In the late 19th century, the meaning of the word "Bamber" (singular form) became wider, designating all the people living in those villages, regardless of their ethnic or cultural background.

Of course that the settlers had their own folk costume, quite modest, but in the second half of the 19th century this was changed into a rich impressive outfit full of decorative pieces, becoming an outer manifestation of the autonomy and of the cohesion of the community. So it must be emphasized that the folk dress of the descendants of these immigrants it wasn't brought by them from Bamberg, but was developed here. It should be also noted that it is about women's dress, the men adopting quickly the typical clothes of the locals.

As can be seen in the postcard, the outfit of a Bamber woman is a decorative display. The basic elements are the watówka (quilted jacket), the bottom spódnik (skirt), the shirt, and the sznurówka (lace). The dress is distinguished by light colour and is sewn from white or creamsilk with a fine multicoloured floral pattern. Tulle decorative accessories, a kreza, an apron and a shawl decorated with elaborate embroidery, are natural and necessary supplements. The triangular shawl is crossed on the chest and then its ends are tied at the back. But the most important distinguishing feature of the outfit is the kornet. This specific headgear, which isn't used in other folk dress of Wielkopolska, is worn only during ceremonies. The kornet is a construction of 23cm height made of cardboard, wire and decorations such as artificial flowers, glass balls, ribbons, tapes and tissue paper. In the back, cornet is richly decorated with bowknots made of wiatrowki, shiny stiff ribbons, usually white, yellow, blue, and pink. The red coral necklace is compulsory.

Even if for almost 300 years the Bambrzy blended into Poznan's landscape, during communist rule they avoided to admit their roots for fear of being suspected of contacts with German enemies. The situation changed in the 1990s, since then they organizing the Bamberg Festival on the first Saturday after September 1st, which takes place on the Old Square, on the back of the City Hall, right by the fountain with a Bamberg woman (made by Josef Wackerle in 1915 and modelled after Józefa Gadymska from Winiary, one of the Bamberg settlers). After the welcoming speeches, is read out a fragment of the first contract between the city and the Bamberg settlers from Luboń. The festival offers many attractions, such as a fruit and vegetable fair, the sale of village bread and szneki with glanc (yeast cake with frosted topping), pyry with gzik (potatoes with cottage cheese), rumpuc (dense vegetable soup), or slices of bread with smoloszek and skrzyczki (lard).

Poznań - Wikipedia
Bambrzy - Wikipedia
Strój bamberski - Poznań official website
Traditional costume from Poznań - Official website of Folkloristic Group Wielkopolanie
Bambrzy, in Poznan for almost 300 years - You are in Poznan

sender: Karolina Ciosek (direct swap)
sent from Poznan (Greater Poland / Poland), on 07.02.2014
photo: Miroslaw Jadryszak

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