Thursday, October 2, 2014

Making a Traje Domingar and Exploring My Culture

Over the past year I have developed a steadily increasing interest in Portuguese folklore and specifically, regional costumes. If you follow my Pinterest, you've undoubtedly seen one of the several boards I have created to store nearly 1,000 photos, links, and bits of research.

For nearly 10 years I was a member of the Portuguese Cultural Association and its subsequent folkloric dancing groups, Sonhos de Portugal (Dreams of Portugal, the adult group) and Os Sonhos Continuam (The Dreams Continue, the children's group). Somewhere in my home must be pictures of me drowning in my oversized Traje de Lavradeira, but smiling and excited in my small part to keep tradition alive.

I admit that I wasn't a very good dancer, but I enjoyed dancing so much that it didn't matter. I left the group when I was in high school because of my homework load, but when I complete my undergraduate education I would like to return to the group.

Perhaps the allure is that now, I can make choices. I can choose to be involved, or not. I can choose what group to belong to, what traje (costume) to make (though I didn't choose my obsession over making the traje). And it has become an obsession: I lay restless at night unable to decide on on color or trim, agonizing over whether I will find the perfect apron.

The PCA's child group uses the Lavradeira outfit, a colorful and embroidered costume worn on feast and festival days. The adult dance group uses the Domingar outfit, an outfit without embroidery and with a linen skirt instead of handwoven wool. The Domingar outfit can be made in nearly every color, and its feasibility is what draws me to making it rather than purchasing it.

Traje Lavradeira from the 2013 Feiras Novas de Ponto Lima Celebration

Trajes Domingar via the Rancho Folclórico das Lavradeiras de Vila Franca
There will be elements of the Traje Domingar that I have to purchase--I am not a cobbler, so I must buy the leather slippers. I do not have a loom or the knowledge of using one, so I must buy the apron. I must also buy the crocheted socks and the matching headscarf. Seeing as the Traje Domingar comes in so many colors, I will first select a color and an apron and work around that.

But eventually (aka in several years when I hopefully have completed all of my languishing UFOs), I will make the bodice, skirt, petticoats, drawers, pocket and embroidered shirt and in so doing further explore my culture and its traditions and history.

Thus far, I have narrowed down possible color choices to dark red, dark green, dark blue, purple, brown, and possibly black. Black is a bit unconventional but I will explain in my next post why it might be the frontrunner! I think that once I make my first complete traje, I will be unable to resist making others in other colors.
via Rancho Folclorico Sonhos de Portugal

via Rancho Folclorico Sonhos de Portugal (I love the brown to the right)

via Rancho de Norwood
via Loja Do Folclore
Vintage postcard via Folk Costume & Embroidery

What color would you chose if you had a Traje Domingar of your own?

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