Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Faroe Island - National Costumes, by Czeslaw Slania 1989

National Costumes of the Faroe Islands
Date of Issue: 10 April 1989
350 National Costumes - Sjostuka and Stavnhetta
600 National Costumes - Stakkur
Engraver: Czeslaw Slania

The stamps do not depict the usual national costume, but rather more finer festive clothes.

National Costumes

The traditional national costume, which, lide the national costumes of many other European countries, originates from the common people´s everyday clothes in the 19th century, is still widely used in the Faroes. In recent years it has gained renewed popularity, especially among young people. The national costume is used for festive occasions, e.g. weddings and gatherings.

However, the stamps do not depict the usual national costume, but rather more finer festive clothes. The female costume is called stakkur, the male costume sjóstúka. On his head the man also wears a stavnhetta.

The stakkur has been used as finery, particularly as bridal dresses, for many centuries. The earliest account dates back to 1673. In the olden days only the spouses of the wealthiest farmers wore the stakkur. It fell to female descendants by inheritance, so that generations of girls could wear it as wedding finery. The stakkur is a long whole dress, made of azure, scarlet or grassgreen cloth – on rare occasions of black cloth. Silk is often used today. The skirt has numerous tucks with a princesse-cut bodice. The sleeves are long and narrow with cuffs and quilled laces. The colour of the cuffs and bosom is different from the rest of the dress – in this case it is red. A silk collar and a belt made of silver or velvet with attached silverplates goes with the stakkur. One end of the belt, the sproti, which may be ornamented with silver, hangs loosly down the skirt. The matching ornaments are eyelets, lace and a large, preferably golden, square brooch with small loose leaves, stakkanál, which is fastened onto the neckwear and the bosom. On her head the woman often wears a crown or a diadem. The stakkur, which for years has been relatively rare, is now enjoying a renaissance.

The sjóstúka is a kneelong black frieze coat, which originates from men´s everyday clothes 150-200 years ago. In the middle of the 19th century the sjóstúka became finery. The coat is sewn with side vents, the back is cut in one piece, the top of the sleeves are wide and rounded at the wrist with short slits and a button. The coat has black glass buttuns, except the two uppermost, which are made of silver and connected with a chain. White stockings and leather shoes with silver buckles often go with the sjóstúka. The headgear, stavnhetta, was a symbol of dignity, which together with sjóstúka was the finery of wealthy farmers and other persons of rank. The sjóstúka and stavnhetta have in later years enjoyed a certain popularity, but the costume is still relatively rare.

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