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Faroese folk dance club with some members in national costumes
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.

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 dresses are crystallized into so-called "typical" forms, and enthusiasts adopted that attire as part of their symbolism.

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.

Africa

A group of Nigerian women wearing pagne.
A group of Nigerian women wearing pagne.

Central Africa

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

Eastern Africa

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

Northern Africa

Traditional gandoura, Algeria
Traditional gandoura, Algeria

Southern Africa

Zulu traditional attire
Zulu traditional attire

Western Africa

Yoruba men in folk costume
Yoruba men in folk costume

Asia

Central Asia

Turkic Countries:

East Asia

Each ethnic group of China has their own traditional costume.
Each ethnic group of China has their own traditional costume.
Mongolia
Mongolia

North Asia

South Asia

Indian cultural dresses
Indian cultural dresses

Southeast Asia

Cambodian Sompot Chong Kben
Cambodian Sompot Chong Kben
Indonesian girl wearing traditional Palembangese Songket
Indonesian girl wearing traditional Palembangese Songket

West Asia

Turkic Countries:

Middle East:

Europe

Northern Caucasus folk costumes. The text at the bottom of the picture reads (from left to right): Ossetians, Circassians, Kabardians, and Chechen.
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
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
A 1831 picture of the folk costume of the Kuopio people in Finland
Morris dancing in English folk costumes
Morris dancing in English folk costumes
Traditional kroj from Slovakia
Traditional kroj from Slovakia
Andalusian folk costumes from Spain
Andalusian folk costumes from Spain
Tricana from Portugal

Eastern Europe

Central Europe

Northern Europe

Southern Europe

Western Europe

North America

A Siksika Blackfoot capote; the capote is seen as the traditional coat of the Métis, some Prairie First Nations and French-Canadian Voyageurs.
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.
China Poblana dress, emblematic of the City of Puebla and sometimes considered the national costume of Mexico.
Blue jeans, Stetsons and press stud plaid Western shirts, c.1950

Caribbean

Central America

Northern America

Oceania

Australia and New Zealand

Melanesia

Micronesia

Polynesia

South America

Peru

Notes

  1. ^ "Folk costume". estonica.org. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  2. ^ "Носиите – Жеравна 2014". Nosia.bg. 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  3. ^ "Български народни носии – България в стари снимки и пощенски картички". Retrobulgaria.com. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  4. ^ Condra, Jill, ed. (2013). Encyclopedia of National Dress, Vol. I. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 123. ISBN 9780313376375.
  5. ^ Condra, Jill, ed. (2013). Encyclopedia of National Dress, Vol. I. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 123. ISBN 9780313376375.