Tracht: The Traditional Bavarian Costume
Origins, Myths, and OktoberfestLederhosen and Dirndl – these two items of clothing are just as Bavarian as the Weißwurst sausage, the ‘Schuhplatteln’ traditional folk dance or the German beer purity law. But where did the custom around the festive folk costume called Tracht originate? Was it really worn by simple farmers? And how does it fit into the image of the modern Oktoberfest? We went looking for clues and made some remarkable discoveries.
Bavarian Costume – Newer Than You Might Think
It may come as a surprise, but the Bavarian traditional costume as we know it is only about 200 years old. It all began on October 12, 1810, with the wedding between Ludwig I and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Because they wanted to strengthen the sense of community in the Kingdom of Bavaria, which was only four years old at the time, Ludwig’s father – King Max Joseph I – had arranged for a traditional costume parade. At the fashion show, children from all areas of the kingdom appeared in clothing typical for their region. In the following years, a uniform Bavarian costume was developed in an elaborate process based in part on these models. To this day, there are minor regional differences in design, but overall, the goal was achieved. For example, no respectable traditional costume store offers a dirndl without a matching apron, whether you are shopping in the Allgäu, Regensburg or Munich. Haferl shoes with Lederhosen are also a must, as is men covering their calves with loferl or stockings.