(Thanks to Sue Isely for this guest post! The full 2013 Northwest Folklife Festival schedule is now online and available for PDF download at www.nwfolklife.org/festival.)
The colorful costume pictured here will be worn by the bride in the Hungarian Showcase: A Turning-point in Village Life: the Hungarian Wedding. When Kathryn Isely, a member of Kisbetyárok, visited a friend in Mezőkövesd, Hungary she fell in love with the traditional costumes in the town’s museum. As luck would have it, there was an elderly woman who still embroiders, sews, and pleates the costumes in the traditional style. The mother of Kathyrn’s friend made folk dolls and the elderly seamstress was her friend. Because of this connection, the lady offered to make an authentic costume for Kathryn and even used the last of the traditional material that she had. So this is a very special costume. The embroidery and knotted fringe are especially beautiful. The pleats are very tiny. She also has many rows of ribbon on the bottom of the skirt which indicate that she has much wealth!
Traditionally, the Mezőkövesd bride wore this colorful costume with an elaborate bridal headpiece, which we are having made by a local Hungarian lady. In more recent years, the bright colors have been replaced with white. Unfortunately, after our stage wedding, Kathryn will not be able to put on an authentic headpiece of a married lady. The elderly seamstress refused to let her have one…”not until you are married!” Kathryn will just have to return for one someday!