Folk dress and tradition

Szekler folk costume

The best known piece of the Szekler men's wear is the tight white hose, the "Szekler tights" of which lacing changes with the region or even with the village. Cordined, semi-hard black boots and simple cuffed, close-collared white linen or cambric shirt match the tights. Black, grey, in some places white, red or blue waistcoat -sometimes decorated with braiding- is worn above the shirt. On the head they usually wear black hat in summer - straw hat next to the Tarnavas on weekdays -, lambskin cap folded back on its lower part in winter. They take felt jerkin or short jacket on the waistcoat. The long grey or black coat are not worn by the elderly either; even the most traditionalist old men take only short black coat and black boots to the white tights.

The most important parts of the Szekler women's wear are the two-piece overclothes: the petticoat and the waistcoat. The petticoat is rolled in waist, its lower part is bordered with a narrow or wider velvet hem. On the eastern side of the Harghita Mountains, in the villages of the Giurgeului, Ciucului and Casinului basins, the petticoat is made of coloured striped home-woven material, the width of the stripes and the matching of colours varying with the village, age and occasion. The pretty, short waistcoat can be made of the striped material of the petticoat or of plain material or velvet; it can be braided or decorated with pearls. Apron with narrower stripes or a pleated one made of plain silk or cambric is worn above the flared petticoat. On the western side of the Harghita, the petticoats are unicoloured but ornamentally woven. Among them, the red, blue and the green are the most common with small braided waistcoat of the same material. The aprons are embroidered with flowery patterns. Boots complete the Szekler women's costume. The girls do not wear kerchieves; they usually braid their hair in two tails and tie a bow in each of them. The ornament of the unicoloured string of beads are also the long ribbons falling on the back in two branches. The women, young and old, press down their hair tied in bun with a kerchief tied under the chin. The material, colour and embroidery of the kerchief vary with the age and occasion. The large shawl ("haras") is still worn but the longer coat lined with wadding or the sheepskin furcoat dyed brown are more common.