Today I will be entering another new country, Portugal.
This is the most famous costume of Portugal, and the most colorful. You will often see it representing Portugal as a whole. It is native to a number of villages around the city of Viana do Castelo in the the northern Province of Minho [pronounced meenyo]. This city lies on the Atlantic just north of the mouth of the river Limia.
This area has several costumes which differ according to purpose and to social class. The costume I will be speaking of is called 'Traje de Lavradeira' by the local people. In the rest of Portugal it is often called the costume of Viana do Castelo, and outside Portugal it is usually referred to as the Minho costume.
There are minor differences between the various villages, and also, as you can see by the first photo, the costume comes in two color variations: vermelho [red], and azul or verde [blue or green]. The second is also known as traje de do' which can be loosely translated as the sad costume.
The red version is considered to be the 'happy' version, and is worn by younger women. The blue or green versions are worn in times of semi-mourning or other sadness, such as the absence of a loved one, and by older women.
The base layer is a linen chemise, camisa, with blue floral satin-stitch embroidery on the front, the shoulders, upper sleeves and cuffs. There is a band of smocking at the top of the sleeve as well. Here is an old chemise showing the cut.
There is a separate bodice, colete, which is always sewn in two parts. The upper part is of the major color of the outfit, red, blue, or green, and the lower part is black. The seam between the two is said to follow the line of the diaphram, and therefore promotes healthy breathing. The front is cut rather low, and there is usually an ornament in the shape of a heart.
There is usually a line of embroidery, trim or braid along the seam, and varying amounts of embroidery on the bodice. An amazing variety exists, from quite simple to very colorful and busy.
The skirt, saia, is made of heavy wool or linen. If of wool, it has a background color of either red or blue/green, with narrow stripes of other colors widely spaced. You can see in this photo above that there is a narrow band gathered into the waistband, and then the body of the skirt is gathered into this band. This is how the skirt can be made so full. There is a wide band sewn onto the hem. This is usually black, but in some villages on the seashore it may be red. It may be left plain or it may have embroidery which matches the black part of the bodice.
Here we see several women wearing the Lavradeira costume, and two wearing the Mordoma costume which is also from the same region.
The hem is usually around ankle length, but like in so many places, some dance groups have decided to shorten it.
I will close with some more images of this costume.
This seems to be a website where you can buy pieces of this costume. At least there are some good closeups.
Here is a slideshow of the costumes of this region.
Here is a dance group from the town of Viano do Castelo. The dancers are all wearing the domingar costume, but the lavradeira and mordoma costumes are worn by those who are singing.
Here is a village folkloric group from this region doing a performance at a festival. It opens with some backstage chatter, but it does show a lot of dancing, including the famous Vira; and shows off both the domingar and lavradeira costumes. This is a longer clip.
I would like to thank Marcos León Fernández for providing me with information and some of these photographs.
I obtained some good information from this website:
Claudio Basto, 'Traje a Vianesa', Gaia - Portugal, 1930
Tomaz Ribas, 'O Trajo Regional em Portugal', Braga, Portugal, 2004
R. Turner Wilcox, 'Folk and Festival Costumes of the World', New York, 1965
Robert Lee Humphrey, Jr., 'Spain and Portugal', Broomal, PA, 2003