“BUNAD” ACCESSORIES AND HOW IT IS USED
“Bunad” accessories is a huge and diverse subject. Traditions can be many and the way it is used has been discussed but not always agreed upon. This means that we don’t know for sure all the answers.
The shirt worn with the black short jacket ”bunad” has white embroidery on the upturned collar. Some say there should be the same style of embroidery on the cuffs, but as this is the way it is made on the female shirt it should not be the same on the mans shirt. If they used anything at all it would have been an ornamental cuff called a “fyriarm”. This will be explained later.
There has always been many different style of embroidery on the collar. In the olden days the shirt was not made as a full shirt, it was just the collar and a bit at the front and a bit at the back. This was called a “kaste” or a “halseskjorte” which means “neck shirt”. Now they make it as a full shirt and it is made from linen or cotton.
Around the neck they wore a silk necktie or a silk bow. These were brought to this country by travelers and businessmen. They usually came from Austria and were very much admired. The housewives, in those days, only had linen, “vadmel” and thick heavy cotton, so these materials were exciting and used for absolute best. The necktie was a square piece of silk and it should be tied in a bow. These days you can buy them ready made. There were many patterns to choose from and they wore the style they liked best and could afford. Gro Randen from Ål is widely known for her beautiful neckties and the silk is now woven in this country.
“Fyriarm” or “handring” (ornamental cuffs) were worn in the 1930-40’s. Then they were not seen until 1980 when they started to be worn again and they are widely used today. “Fyriarm” are buttoned on to the cuffs and shows in front of the jacket sleeve. They were either knitted or embroidered; some also used beads, in beautiful patterns and colors. A very colorful rose with eight petals was a widely used pattern and it could be made to match the silk necktie. Initials of the father’s name were often stitched into the middle of the pattern. Most probably these patterns were different from place to place. This does not seem so important anymore.
They used to wear the socks they had at hand, now we wear black socks for the long trousers and knitted, patterned socks or off white socks for the knee length trousers. The knitted sock has the eight blade rose pattern in black and white. The socks for the bridegroom were white knitted socks with a platted pattern.
Bands were used to keep the sock up. The socks stay up better these days because of the way they are made and the bands are mostly for show.
The bands for the socks were finger crouched in many eye catching patterns and colors, and made to match the necktie. Both worn with the black short jacket “bunad” and the bridegroom “bunad”. The braces were embroidered using colorful cotton and beads. These days the waistcoat covers the braces and it doesn’t matter what they look like. You must wear the waistcoat, without it you are not properly dressed in “bunad”.
They used the shoes they had, but often decorated with a buckle. These days you can buy special “bunad” shoes, which must be worn with the bridegroom “bunad” or knee length trousers. For the black long trousers you can wear any black shoes.
Silver buttons have always been in use, but during the 1800 they used bone and brass and pressed
silver 10 øre coins. Lately 925S has become a substitute for 800S and 830S, this means less polishing and it stays shiny longer. The buttons have many different patterns, but the most common is the rose with 8 petals. In every valley there used to be one or more silversmiths, each producing lots of different patterns. These days we use six or seven different patterns. The buttons can be shiny or oxidated and in 2 different sizes. The same buttons are used for the bridegroom “bunad” and for the black “bunad”.
It is difficult to tell which is a typical Halling knife or ”bunad” knife. They used what they had. These days we have two highly acclaimed knives; it’s the Raaen knife and the Einarsen knife. The Raaen knife was produced in Hol, all silver both knife and shaft, similar to the “taterkniv” knife the gypsies used. It was richly decorated and is today one of the most valuable knifes there is and very difficult to get hold of. The Einarsen knife was made of silver birch or bone, richly inlaid with mother of pearl and silver. The pattern is similar to the Toten knife.
The last well known knife makers were Mikkel Einarsen, Einar Hagen and Lars Raaen
Mikkel and Einar (father and son) made the Einarsen knife and Lars Raaen made the Raaen knife. They were both made early 1900. In the old days there were knife makers on almost every farm. They made knifes for themselves and for the rest of the family, both for everyday use and for celebration. That is why it is difficult to find a common pattern before 1900. The rumor says that the “Halling” was quick to draw the knife. The knife was worn on the left hand side for right handed people and right hand side for left handed people.
A silver watch was worn for practical reasons, to tell the time. These days it is mostly worn as an ornament or collectors item. To wind the watch there was a small key and the watch was wound from the back. At the turn of the century they changed the style and started to make watches with a small screw on the top. This could be used for both winding up and setting the time. In the old days the watch was made with a lid on the front, and a lid on the back. This was for protection and hard wear. They have now started making silver watches like that again. The old watches are now a collector’s item and fetch a very high price. Some old silver watches fetch a higher price than new gold watches. The silver watch was placed in a small pocket on the waistcoat, to the left for right handed people and to the right for left handed people.
Silver watch chains came in many different styles, as it does today. The difference was the length and the thickness. The two most common chains are “Totteband” and “Kjetting”. Totteband had from two up to five chains in a line and then a brass button, the chains between the buttons were given the name “Totte”, and the more “Totte” the more prestigious the man. That is why you don’t find many 5 chains “Totteband”. There is also a watch chain called “trosse” this was fairly long and went around the neck and then down to the pocket. This was mostly worn with the “fiskekjølkje”. More silver items were worn in the olden days then now. As an example they wore silver rings and sometimes on the bridegroom “bunad”, one or two silver broaches at the neck. This was before the silk necktie.
For the black ”bunad” they wore a silver or brass button at the neck, below the necktie. There was never a dangling leaf or anything else on the button, just a plain button. Lately some has stared to wear buttons with leafs. This style was never used in Hallingdal, but in Gudbrandsdalen and Numedal. Cufflinks should never be worn, just “fyriarm”. Cufflinks were worn with a suit but never with a “bunad”.