Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Part Seven: The Folk Costumes

It was along this stretch of coastline that the most striking of Portuguese folk costumes, the Vianesa, was created. The creativity and originality with which the countrywomen wove coloured and embroidered skirts, waistcoats, aprons, shirts and even mules, resulted in exuberant outfits. The costumes have subtle differences that indicate which village the wearer comes from, and other changes depend on the taste as each girl is free to choose her costume according to it. This general outfit was soon adopted as a symbol of the region, particularly at the Viana do Castelo festival in honour of Nossa Senhora d’Agonia, and later became a national symbol. Nowadays, at international events (such as Expo 98 or the UEFA Euro 2004) it is not unusual to see girls dressed “à vianesa” at the ceremonies, symbolising the whole of Portugal. Many of these fascinating outfits can be seen in the Museu do Traje (The Folk Costume Museum) in Viana. These are just some of the things that make this northern coastline a very special place, for such are the intrinsic ties between land and sea that perhaps only on an island would be possible to find another such perfect example. (The End)


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