February 22, 2015
1466 POLAND (Silesia) - Rozbarsko-Bytomski folk costume
Silesians are the inhabitants of Silesia, a region of Central Europe, along the Odra river, now located mostly in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic and Germany. They are of Slavic descent, but because Germany ruled Silesia for a long time, Silesians have been deeply influenced by German culture. They are generally considered to belong to a Polish ethnographic group, but there is also the opinion that they constitute a distinct nation. 847,000 people declared themselves to be of Silesian nationality in the 2011 Polish national census (including 376,000 who declared it to be their only nationality). The region is rich in mineral and natural resources and includes several important industrial areas (its largest city being Wrocław).
First notes of a silesian folk outfit come from the 13th century (legend about Saint Jadwiga), but in the 18th century the costume changed radically, the current one being born in the second half of the 19th century. On the other hand, Silesia has 40,000 km2 (roughly as Switzerland or Netherlands), so it is natural that the folk costume to differ from one area to another. The traditional dress worn in the eastern, upland part of Upper Silesia region, near Katowice, is called Rozbarski or Rozbarsko-Bytomski, after the village Rozbark, near to Bytom. There were lots of kinds of women outfits: for different ocassions, different part of year or even different part of a day. Also the catholical callendar had big influence on the dress.
An essential element of women’s clothing was oplecek, a skirt and a corset sewn to it. The costume included also apron and kabotek (a white plain waist-long shirt). The shirts were made of thin cotton material, and were decorated with beautiful subtle on the collar and sleeves. Skirts for such an outfit were wide (4-5m wide) with smooth front and sides and rear part formed into small tucks. Another part of women's outfit was bandana, called szaltucha, and the blood-red beads in kit with a cross. The head of married women had to be covered, mostly by bandanas (purpurki), but for feasts the richest women wore bonnets. The purpurki were tied on the back and their edges looked as wings. Maid's didn't have any headgear, they put their hair into a braid and tie it with a green, blue or red ribbon. For important occasions they put on their head galanda - wide wreath made of colourful flowers and trinkets. In the rear part girls put a ribbon tied into a bow which ends fell down to their back.
About the stamps
The first stamp is part of Polish Mansion Houses set, designed by Andrzej Gosik and issued on February 28, 2001, about which I wrote here. The second stamp, depicting the city of Poznan, was issued in 1960.
Silesia - Wikipedia
Silesians - Wikipedia
Traditional costume from the Rozbarsk and Bytom region - Folkloristic Group Wielkopolanie website
Sender: Natalia Nowak (lottery)
Sent from Ruda Śląska (Silesia / Poland), on 02.02.2015
Photo: Jan Walczewski