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Austrian Tracht
Tracht of Gutach in the Black Forest, around 1900. The red colour of the pompons indicates that the woman was unmarried.

Tracht is a traditional garment in German-speaking countries. Although the word is most often associated with Bavarian and Austrian garments many other peoples of Germany have them.


In northern Germany some of the best known examples are the "Friesische Tracht" and the Finkenwerder Tracht. The "Friesische Tracht" is richly decorated with beads and embroidery. The quality of the work was a sign of the riches and social status of the wifes wearing it. In former times it was brought into a marriage by the bride as part of her dowry. This costume is occasionally still worn at weddings. The "Finkenwerder Tracht" is the traditional garment of the inhabitants of an island in the Elbe river. It is worn by a local folklore group called Finkwarder Speeldeel.

Visitors to the Black Forest region will be familiar with the wide brim hats decorated with big red pompons (known as Bollenhut) that are part of the Tracht in the three villages of Kirnbach, Gutach and Reichenbach.

Displaced German peoples like the Sudetendeutsche often used events where they wore Tracht to emphasize their unity.

Costumes worn by professional guilds, habits of religious orders, deaconesses and the historical garment of some occupational groups (e.g. nurses) are also called "Tracht". While some of them have fallen into disuse, carpenter journeymen can still be seen wearing their traditional garment while traveling throughout Europe.

Other uses[edit]

Originally, the word "Tracht" had a much wider meaning in German in the sense of "what is carried/worn/borne", as it is connected to the verb "tragen", meaning "to carry/wear/bear". So "Tracht" can refer to the clothes which are worn, but e.g. also simply to a load, which is carried (still used by beekeepers, referring to the load of honey carried in by the bees), or within the German idiom "eine Tracht Prügel" (a load (of) beating) to "a good beating".

See also[edit]

External resources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Franz C. Lipp: Oberösterreichische Trachten, volumes 1–5.
  • Hilde Seidl: Niederösterreichische Trachten. One of the most comprehensive works about Lower Austrian costumes.
  • Christl Schäfer, Hannelore Rosenberger: Trachten aus und rund um Wien. Ein Werkbuch (mit Schnittmusterbogen). Leopold Stocker publishing house. ISBN 3-7020-0500-5