May 4, 2014

1075 FINLAND (Uusimaa) - A Finnish folk dance group in Glims Farmstead Museum in Espoo

As in many of the european countries, the Finnish national costumes are based on the outfits of common people in the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century. These outfits used to represent the estate of the wearer, so even there were dressing laws which forbade dressing too sophisticated for the ones who weren't in upper class. Common people therefore had to come up with ways to dress well without breaking the laws. These laws influenced a lot the dressing of common people and the way the Finnish national costumes look today. As the dialects of Finnish language, also the Finnish folk costumes are divided in two groups, namely western, and Karelian, or eastern.

The basic silhouette for women consists of a white blouse, generally of linen or cotton, with full long sleeves and a collar or neck frill. Over this is worn a sleeveless bodice, which may be either laced or fastened with buttons. The back panel is cut on the cross grain, creating a point or arrow out of the striped motif, pointing toward the waistline. An apron is worn over a long, full skirt, typically made of wool, from a striped fabric. Pockets or reticule bags are hung from the waist. The primary influence in the eastern is from Karelia, once a province of Finland, now divided with Russia. The  women's dresses aren’t dissimilar from that worn in western regions, having the same basic elements, but with some diferences. The woollen cloth is white, black indigo or red, and is decorated with colourful embroidery and traditional lacework. Karelian skirts are often tightly pleated all the way round, and the aprons are decorated with a variety of horizontal stripes. Married women wear a headscarf, a sorokka headdress or a linen cap. Girls wear a shaped headbang or a band decorated with metal studs.

Like at most of the Scandinavians, Finnish men’s costume begins with a white, full-sleeved shirt, ornamented with embroidery and featuring a standing collar that is fastened at the neck with a silver brooch. Over the shirt a waistcoat is worn, tipically of striped material and made in a double-breasted fashion. Is added a matching coat and trousers or breeches in either black or dark blue. On the head, a skullcap or a brimmed felt hat is worn. Stockings are often white or off-white, and are worn whit flat soled leather buckled shoes. The Karelian costume for men is typified by the regional dress of Kaukola. A red-trimmed coat of dark brown or black is worn over a vest of similar material, and trousers. A tall brimmed hat, similar in style to a top hat but wider at the crown than the brim, is a distinguishing feature of this costume. A costume typifying the Swedish influence on men’s national dress in west would be that of Valkeala. Here dark breeches are worn with a vertically striped vest and a white shirt. A round cap or skullcap may be worn on the head, and it is common to see black buckled shoes and red stockings.

Glims Farmstead Museum is situated in the well preserved cultural landscape of Karvasmäki village, a district of Espoo, where farms and holdings were already established in the Middle Ages. The buildings in the large yard area at Glims are in their original locations. The oldest ones are the storage shed and the old dwelling, both from the 18th century. Glims was still a working farm at the beginning of the 20th century, and become museum in 1958.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series of four issued on 2013 and dedicated to Postcrossing.

History of Finnish National Costumes - A website of the Savonlinna Department of Teacher Education
Finland  - Encyclopedia of National Dress: Traditional Clothing Around the World
Glims Farmstead Museum - Espoo Museums 

sender: Liisa / nyyli (postcrossing) 
sent from Lappeenranta (South Karelia / Finland), on 24.04.2014

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