Women's headwear

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Square scarf, Sângeorgz-Bai, 1991

Broboada, Salistea, 1994

Testemel, Topoloveni 1997


Cununa, Cosbuc 1990

Straw hats, Medias dance group

Marama, Domneşti 1999

Marama, Arefu 1999

Marama with head band, Curtea de Arges 1999

Headwear and hairstyle were the only part of a woman's traditional dress, which depicted her marital status. Single girls had their heads uncovered and hair braided. In the traditional wedding ceremony covering the head was a significant moment. There were three stages in the ceremony, dressing the hair, gathering the hair, and covering the head. After their wedding day married women always had their heads covered. Each region had its own modes of traditional hairdressing, and in certain regions there were special ornate headdresses for wedding ceremonies called Cununã  (coronet) or Hungarian parta).

The main types of head covering worn by women were an oblong cotton scarf or silk veil, a square or triangular headscarf, a bonnet, a straw or felt hat, or a combination of a scarf and a hat.

Oblong cotton scarf - Ştergar 

The oblong cotton scarf or silk veil is the oldest type of  traditional head covering. The oblong cotton scarf (ştergar, cârpă, or peşchir) was worn in whole of Moldavia, Muntenia, Oltenia, Dobrogea and certain regions of Transylvania until the end of the 19th century, and is still used for decoration and a household linen in village houses. It is made of flax, hemp, or cotton and is around 7-8 ft long and 15-20 inches wide and can be decorated with embroidery and beads. The style of wearing the ştergar, varied from region to region and with fashion. In parts of Transylvania it used to be worn over a cap or support.

Silk veil - Maramă (pl. marame )

A maramă is larger then a ştergar and is usually made of home woven cocoon silk although in some areas cotton was used. Both maramă and ştergar are woven using two or more heddles. The maramă is worn mainly in southern Romania, South Moldavia and south Transylvania mainly on festive occasions. Marame possibly have an oriental origin and are decorated with white patterns woven onto a white background and often grouped toward the ends. In Argeş the patterns can include coloured geometric motifs. It takes one to eight days to make a maramă. Marame are folded in different ways according to the age of the wearer, the region, fashion and the occasion. In certain areas of the south they used to be worn over a cap or bonnet. Strings of coins or beaded headbands are also worn over marame.

Square scarf  - Basma (pl. basmele)

A basma is a square of fabric woven in cotton, silk or wool, and either plain, decorated with embroidery, or printed. They can be of varying size and thickness and are also called casânică, şal, caşmir, năframă, cârpa or broboadă. Basmele are usually folded in half diagonally and worn by women to cover their heads, by tying them at the back, or under the chin depending on the zone, nationality, fashion or age of the woman. Basmele have been found all over Romania since the latter half of nineteenth century. These are usually factory made in fine-spun industrially woven wool and were originally imported from the Orient. Printed floral headscarves are most common type seen today in Transylvania and Moldavia.

Large square scarf - broboadă (pl. broboade)

A broboadă is a large, thick woollen home woven or factory made scarf worn by women in winter to cover either the head or shoulders, from the first decade of 20th century. Broboadă can be dark coloured: black, maroon, or grey, or more vividly coloured as in certain zones of Bihor, Banat, Maramureş.

Triangular scarf - testemel (pl. testemele) (Bulgarian - testemel

Triangular scarves are worn mostly in the south, Dobrogea, East Moldavia and across the Danube. These were home woven of thin white cotton or muslin or bought ready made and are often fringed with lace and beads. They can be called  testemel, tulpan, (pl. tulpane), ciumber (pl. ciumberi), or bariş (pl.barişe), these names indicate the  Balkan or Oriental origin of this type of scarf.  The way of tying these varies from village to village. They can be tied under the chin, or with the ends passed under the chin and the corners turned up and tied on top of the head, or tied behind the neck, with the top wrapped around loops of hair. Black ciumberi, tulpane or barişe were worn on work days  or by older women. Ciumberi for festival days were decorated by attaching lace  into which metal sequins and multicoloured beads in yellow, cherry, dark brown and black were sewn to the front part of the scarf. In parts of south-east Romania a ciumber or bariş was worn under a ştergar. A tulpan was usually 3 coloured headscarf made of thin cotton, wool or silk muslin cloth.

Bonnets - ceapsă (pl. cepse) or conci (pl. conciuri)

In Banat and southwest Hunedoara small cloth bonnets (ceapsă or conci) are worn mainly by married women. These are made of flax or cotton fabric which is embroidered with woollen, silk, cotton or metal thread. There are many different styles, some based on late 18th century bonnets found in other parts of Europe.  They used to form a component of the complex head ornaments  “gătelii capului” which were characteristic in some parts of Romania.  The ceapsă is worn on both weekdays and holidays and can be triangular or oval shaped, or have one with one 'horn' (Pădureni), or 2 'horns' (Haţeg).  The predominant colours are red in Banat and black in Pãdureni, with older women wearing bonnets in more subdued colours, though ceapsă can also be woven in deep pink, or more recently in an "old gold" shade of yellow.  The richest style of decoration on Ceapsă or conci is woven geometric motifs which cover the entire bonnet. These are made with  a special technique using a mirror to follow the pattern on the back of the cloth. Silver and gold coins and beads are used as decoration. Ceapsă can be worn with basmale (scarves), ştergare or văltori (hats).

The name Conci is used both for the small cloth bonnet worn in Câmpia Bănătului or for a form of head ornament made from a circle of wood, in plaited hair or wool, covered in a cloth, which was worn under a scarf. This form of head ornament used to be worn by married women in some regions of the country and was used to support elaborate hair styles. The name Conci is also used to refer to a necklace made of coins worn in Banat.

Straw Hats - Pălărie (pl. Pălării) din Paie

Straw hats made in specialist workshops are worn by women along the Carpathians, and in south and central Transylvania. They are worn in the fields in summer, often over a scarf or maramă as protection from the sun and for festive occasions when they are decorated with coloured ribbons, tassels, beads, flowers and small mirrors. The most common style has a small crown and wide brim and was possibly introduced by the Saxon Germans. 

Felt hats - Pălărie din fetru

In south Carpathians (zones of Muscel and Argeş) & in Transylvania, (zona Târnavelor, Mãrginimea Sibiului, Ţara Oltului, Valea Mureşului) women wear felt hats with a closely fitting crown and small brim (bor).  These are decorated with multicoloured ribbons, with tassels, and flowers. Around Sibiu and in Valea Mureşului women also wear felt hats with very large brims turned back.


© Eliznik2005, First issue 17/2/2002, Last updated Aug-05