Lithuanian national costumes
The Lithuanian national art, traditions and the customs of this country was for ages cherished by the village women. They embodied the simple country people’s aspiration of beauty and kindness, their creative mind in quiet lullabies, fairytales and weepers of brides, in songs and in the patterned clothes.
A large majority of those values was destroyed by long years of disaster, but a great part of them has become the expression of emotional attitude and remained authentic in Lithuanian private life.
A lot of examples of the national art are picked up, systematized and described in the Lithuanian museums where the new exhibits are constantly added from the ethnographical expeditions.
The copious collections of clothes and colourful fabrics witness a subtle taste of the national weavers, their high inner culture and a great diligent. Very important among those exhibits are the Lithuanian national clothes – significant by their rich colours are various combinations of components. The perfect waves of scripts gradually turn of the stylised geometrical figures of flora. It is said that they had their special meaning and a magic power in the past ages. But passing from one generation to another the authentic mean of those scripts were forgotten; it developed into the tradition of decoration of the national clothes.
The national festival’s clothes were widely used up to the beginning of the XXth century. In all the ethnic regions ( in Aukštaitija, Dzūkija, Suvalkija, Žemaitija and in Mažoji Lietuva – Small Lithuania) the complements of clothes were formed of the main elements of clothing: head cover and adornment, shirt, waistcoat, skirt, apron, waistband, and footwear. In the colder seasons of the year also a wrap, a coarse homespun overcoat and a fur coat were wearied.
In the every mentioned ethnographical region those elements differ by the character of weaving and scripts, by their compositions and colouring, also by the sewing of clothes.
In the time of the Lithuania’s revival those clothes acquired a symbolic mean of the national a spirit. All the members of the folklore ensembles and the popularises of the national art, also the participants of the mass festivals of songs wear the Lithuanian national clothes.
Everybody wear those clothes with pride-who loves sincerely his native land.
Lithuanians, clad in national costumes, would blend spontaneously with the rustic surroundings enveloping them in the picturesque ness of lakes and forests breathing with tranquillity, against the background of blooming meadows, fields of ripping rye, individual farmsteads and small villages with churches. All of them together celebrated weddings and other holidays, participated in various festivities, together mourned over the conscripts, the deceased, hurried along the roads and paths to Church festivals.
At the back group of multi-coloured church banners, folk wood sculptures and painted images of the saints they would kneel against the altar and pray the God to bless their home and fields. National costumes as if some sort of shield protected everybody not only from cold and heat, but also from angry stare, from a great calamity. They imparted dignity to the Lithuanians, the feeling of solemnity and infinite self-confidence.