16 May, 2006

National day and the bunad

The 17th of May is Norway’s National day. This is a huge celebration. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, mainly from a craft perspective. There are two main reasons for that. First, starting to write this blog has made me even more aware of everything handmade. Second, I’ve read a book that made me think (again) about how men’s achievements through history have been recorded all the time, while women’s achievements tend to be overlooked. One of the key features when you look at our celebration today is the extensive use of the national costume, or as we call it: the “bunad”. The bunad is not just one costume; it comes in about 400 different varieties. Every city, village and mountain top seems to have their own. But mind you, they’re all made in accordance with strict rules. And this is serious business. You don’t mess with the bunad, or the “bunad police” will come and get you ;-)

The bunad tradition is about 100 years old, and some of the costumes are based on old traditions, others are varieties that have been constructed during the last 100 years. They evolved when Norway got it’s independence a 100 years ago. This independence resulted in an intense national romantic period, and the bunad was one of the results of that era. We’re out of this national romantic period now (luckily), but the use of the bunad has remained.
What I really love about the bunad is that it is almost all about women’s achievements with their needles and threads. Instead of celebrating the National day with generals, soldiers and tanks (a masculine world), we celebrate it with the work and creativity of generations of women. This makes me really proud.


I’m presenting some pictures of my own bunad here. This is a Rogalandsbunad, meaning that the bunad (and I) come from a region called Rogaland. The main reason I appreciate my bunad so much, is the fact that my mother made this bunad for me herself. There’s a lot of work and love behind this. I remember my mother working on this for several months, before she gave it to me as a gift when I was 15 years old. The shirt was made by my best friend's mother. The silver was presents from my grandparents and other family members and friends. It makes me happy to have a bunad that has been given to me from people dear to me. This makes me feel that I have a very personal costume, although it looks like every other bunad from the same region.

This is what Wikipedia say about the bunad







Even the wild cherry trees have put on their best dress today :-)

13 comments:

elisabeth augusta said...

Veldig fint skrevet. Jeg har ikke tenkt så langt tidligere; fraværet av tanks og generaler - ja. Barna i fokus - ja. At kvinners arbeid er så sterkt representert, er en ny tanke for meg. Så flott! Takk skal du ha.

Annie said...

You are so lucky to have something like that. We don't have any costumes like that to pass down. Maybe that is why handmade crafts are becoming so wildly popular here. The embroidery is really lovely.

Mary, Mary... said...

Your bunad is such a beautiful assembly of personal memories.I think that's why when we knit or crochet a gift for someone, we hope they feel the same connection.
Hilde, I may have to actually learn how to crochet properly so I can make your beautiful shawl--it's truly exquisite.

Supernøtt said...

Gratulerer med dagen! :D Håper du har hatt en flott 17. mai.

Hulda said...

Hei, har kikket igjennom bloggen din, og her var det masse flott! De sitteunderlagene var virkelig stilige, og sikkert varme. Kunne tenkt meg å lage et par jeg også. Sommersjalet ditt likte jet også veldig godt, helt herlige farger i det! Ha en fin dag!

Elaine said...

You are so lucky to have the bunad tradition here in Norway. I think that is my favourite part of the 17th of May - looking at all of the lovely bunads and thinking of the people who have worked so hard to make them for their loved ones. Your story is also very inspiring and motivating. Your family has given you, each in their own way, something to help remind you of where you come from and that you have people around you that care very much for you. What a fantastic token of their feelings for you - something you are obviously proud of. Even though I'm not Norwegian, I have asked my husband for a Nordlandsbunad for my 30th birthday (in 2 years).

HPNY Knits said...

what a great a colorful holiday to celebrate women's carft! it must be dazzaling to look at all the different bunads.

Eva said...

Hei.
Kjekk side du har. Har fulgt med en god stund.
Likte veldig godt Bunads innslaget. Jeg er også Rogalending, men jeg har Jærbunaden selv.

Annie said...

Hilde, I think you should join the Sundara Petal Collection thing, too! She ships internationally. :-) You don't HAVE to makes socks...

halaisa said...

Hei! Jeg har laget en link til deg fra bloggen min, håper det er i orden jeg holder på med å lage sitteunderlag. Dine er jo bare helt utrolig flotte!!

Hvis du har noe i mot at jeg linker til deg så vært så snill å gi beskjed! Ha en god helg!

Hilde C. said...

Hei halaisa!

Jeg setter stor pris på at du linker til bloggen min når du bruker min oppskrift :-)

futuregirl said...

Having a your family and friends come together to make your bunad is so touching. You are right - it *is* great that the National celebration centers around the work and creativity of women. :)

I went to the link with all the different bunads. They are all so ornate and beautiful. I'm glad that you wrote about this wonderful tradition.

Wendy said...

Your bunad is such a treasure. Thank you for explaining this wonderful tradition. Enjoy your National holiday.