The Romanian Blouse

Today, we are celebrating a very important cultural element of Romania around the world: The Romanian Blouse.

Since 2013, on the night of „Sânziene” the night of the „open skies”, hundreds of cities around the world take part at the event, with people wearing the traditional Romanian blouse.

Girls in traditional costumes, in Maramures, Romania

“Ie” is a Romanian traditional blouse. It is tailored in the simple shape of a cross, from a single piece of white linen, silk or fabric obtained from silkworm thread (borangic). It is adorned with traditional Romanian motives, with embroideries and beads, mainly around the sleeves and the collar. The front has rich embroideries, with the same model as the sleeves. The colours of the models differ depending on the region. In some, the colours are richer, more vivid, in others they are simpler, sometimes, only one dark colour, such as blue or black.

Colorized old picture of three young women wearing the Romanian Blouse, „Ie”

It is worn only by women and is present in almost all Romanian regions. It is said to originate from the costume of the ancient Dacians, the proud Thracian people living in these parts of Europe and the Balkans. And thus this millenary tradition has been transferred from one generation to the next until our times. It is also said that a traditional, authentic ie must never be finished, as the religious women in the Romanian villages believed that perfection belongs to God, not to humans.

Henri Matisse, La Blouse Roumaine, 1940, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris

The Romanian blouse has not been included yet in the UNESCO world heritage, but efforts are being made for this purpose by the Romanian authorities, as well as by private institutions. One of the main communities supporting the study and protection of this historical tradition is La Blouse Roumaine.  “La Blouse Roumaine” is the name of a painting signed by Henri Matisse in 1940, which consists of a series of portraits.

We also hope that these efforts will end up in success and that this authentic tradition in the cultural region of the Balkans will remain vivid for many years ahead!




A Romanian peasant girl in an old colorized postcard

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