Folk costume

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Faroese folk dance club with some members in national costumes

A folk costume (also regional costume, national costume, traditional garment, or traditional regalia) expresses an identity through costume, which is usually associated with a geographic area or a period of time in history. It can also indicate social, marital or religious status. If the costume is used to represent the culture or identity of a specific ethnic group, it is usually known as ethnic costume (also ethnic dress, ethnic wear, ethnic clothing, traditional ethnic wear or traditional ethnic garment). Such costumes often come in two forms: one for everyday occasions, the other for traditional festivals and formal wear. The word "costume" in this context is sometimes considered pejorative due to the multiple senses of the word, and in such cases "regalia" can be substituted without offense.[1]

Following the rise of romantic nationalism, the pre-industrial peasantry of Europe came to serve as models for all that appeared genuine and desirable. Their garments are crystallized into so-called "typical" forms, and enthusiasts adopted that attire as part of their symbolism. These garments may be made from traditional pre-industrial textiles, in regional styles.

In areas where Western dress codes have become usual, traditional garments are often worn at special events or celebrations; particularly those connected with cultural traditions, heritage or pride. International events may cater for non-Western attendees with a compound dress code such as "business suit or national dress".

In modern times, there are instances where traditional garments are required by sumptuary laws. In Bhutan, the traditional Tibetan-style clothing of gho and kera for men, and kira and toego for women, must be worn by all citizens, including those not of Tibetan heritage. In Saudi Arabia, women are also required to wear the abaya in public.


A group of Nigerian women wearing pagne.

Central Africa[edit]

Toghu or Tugh is the official traditional regalia of Cameroon worn by men, women and children.

Eastern Africa[edit]

Baganda people in their cultural outfits. Men put on Kanzu, and ladies Ggomeesi.

Northern Africa[edit]

Traditional gandoura, Algeria

Southern Africa[edit]

Zulu traditional attire

Western Africa[edit]

Yoruba men in folk costume


Central Asia[edit]

Turkic Countries:

East Asia[edit]

Each ethnic group of China has its own traditional costume.
Tuvan horse-riders wearing deel.

North Asia[edit]

South Asia[edit]

Indian cultural dresses

Southeast Asia[edit]

Indonesian girl wearing traditional Palembangese Songket
Armenians in arkhalig.
Palestinian costume from Bethlehem.

West Asia[edit]


European and Central Asian folk costumes, from a 1932 encyclopedia
Northern Caucasus folk costumes. The text at the bottom of the picture reads (from left to right): Ossetians, Circassians, Kabardians, and Chechen.
Costumes of inhabitants of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1855: Romanian, ethnic Hungarian (Magyar), Slovak and German peasants
A 1831 picture of the folk costume of the Kuopio people in Finland
Morris dancing in English folk costumes
Traditional kroj from Slovakia
Andalusian folk costumes from Spain

Eastern Europe[edit]

Central Europe[edit]

Northern Europe[edit]

Southern Europe[edit]

Western Europe[edit]

North America[edit]

A Siksika Blackfoot capote; the capote is seen as the traditional coat of the Métis, some Prairie First Nations and French-Canadian Voyageurs.
China Poblana dress, emblematic of the City of Puebla and sometimes considered the national costume of Mexico.


Mayan folk clothing from Nebaj.

Central America[edit]

Northern America[edit]


Maori man wearing the korowai.

Australia and New Zealand[edit]



Samoan women wearing the puletasi.


South America[edit]

Gaucho wearing the poncho salteño.
Baiana clothing from Bahia.


  1. ^ See wikt:costume#Usage notes[better source needed]
  2. ^ "Folk costume". Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Носиите – Жеравна 2014". 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  4. ^ "Български народни носии – България в стари снимки и пощенски картички". Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  5. ^ Condra, Jill, ed. (2013). Encyclopedia of National Dress, Vol. I. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 123. ISBN 9780313376375.
  6. ^ Condra, Jill, ed. (2013). Encyclopedia of National Dress, Vol. I. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 123. ISBN 9780313376375.