14.5.09

Bunads & the In-Laws



 
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I still haven't had a chance to post the Tivoli photos but I will. It's been a tough week with the news of Jordan and Peter's shocking split to contend with. Honestly, who'd trust romance after this? Only kidding! I don't even know who these people are. Honest! Er if you genuinely don't, just go to www.dailymail.co.uk.....
Anyway, as my neighbours clean and paint their flag poles in preparation for Norway's national Day on Sunday, the rain has returned. Last year it snowed on May 17th so anything's possible. It's the only day in the year when Norwegians really dress up. Most women wear a Bunad, the 'dressed up for Mass, milking maid' type national costume, and don't have to consider style or glamour on the day. D2 asks for one every year but every year I point out that she's not Norwegian so not entitled to one. 
My brother-in-law's girlfriend from Stavanger wore hers to my niece's confirmation last weekend in Copenhagen. They're brought out for weddings as well which means that Norwegian women are deprived of the delights of searching high and low for the 'perfect' outfit for big occasions. Poor sods. Anyway, my mother-in-law apparently started to cry when she saw the girlfriend dressed up in the bunad. I've been married to her other son for 11 years but she didn't get misty-eyed when she saw me in my teal Karen Millen backless cocktail dress. We clearly have very, very different taste in costumes, I mean clothes. Actually, in life in general we have very different outlooks. My husband did not marry a woman cut from the same cloth as his mother. (She is a lovely person, by the way; I'm not implying otherwise).
Anyway, a little bit later, my father-in-law, long divorced from mother-in-law, came up to me to tell me how much he loved my dress. It kind of said it all about them as a couple I thought. I took the compliment graciously, of course.

10 comments:

Caroline said...

Hmmm yes, the bunad....... haven't worn one for many years now. Never been one for tradition anyway. Although might get one for next 17th May - give my father some joy in his old age.

Batgirl said...

Once again we're back to my days as a teenager with principles. I refused to get the "fake" (nice) bunad other kids from Stavanger wore. Instead, I went for the ancestral Sunnmørsbunad - not so pretty and 100 % wool - since it was "authentic". Granted, I'm usually not freezing on May 17th! :-) I haven't worn it to a wedding yet, and have avoided wearing it to confirmations - I always think it's just too much trouble. I guess I need to factor in the hours of shopping/agonising over what to wear... I can't wear it to anything in Ireland, I'd be the laughing stock of boyfriend's family and friends :-) Scarily enough, he's starting to sort of understand the Norwegian guys who think it's a little sexy. He's not quite there yet though!

Leah said...

God! I love your dress. Hot!

Michele said...

Batgirl, do some norske men find the bunad a turn-on? This is a side of norsk kultur I haven't heard about. So pervy! I like it...

I appreciate the unique qualities of the bunad but am glad I don't have to wear one. I'm still getting over the fact that I have to get dressed up to attend the 17th May parade here in town. Makes me appreciate the shorts, tank top, and flip flops I used to wear on July 4th. :-)

JEDA said...

Ah now, see--the bunad is the one thing that I think is right about 17. mai. I kind of love them. But, then, to be perfectly honest, my heart is and always has been about 90 years old.

Of course, not all bunads are created equal. Is the bunad you've shown there a Danish variant? It is decidedly more frumpy than some of the others I've seen.

My mother-in-law has offered to make me one. I'm still wrestling with whether or not it's appropriate. I am married to a genuine Hardanger man, but I've spent the past 14 years resisting integration at every level. Seems kind of hypocritical to cherry pick in this fashion....

Your backless teal is lovely too. Really lovely, in fact. Takes all sorts to make a party interesting. One does get tired of looking at all the bunads at a Norwegian wedding. Not nearly enough to snark about.

beaverboosh said...

Ja, gutted about Pete and Katy... hey I have a Fana bunad (from my MiL), and I am not Norwegian. What's the problem girl, I am trying to fit in (its not really working well though)!

OSLO said...

Yesterday, an American mother I've never spoken to before told me that she was delighted to have got a cheap bunad for her daughter at Smart Club to wear for today's school parade. I know my daughter would look gorgeous in one, and probably far smarter that she does in the red dress she's currently wearing but she's not Norwegian! Do any of you Norwegian girls dislike your traditional dress being hijacked in the form of cheap rip-offs by foreigners with no strong Norwegian connection? I think I would but maybe I'm to sensitive about heritage.
Caroline- I'm sure you'd bring a tear to your daddy's eye.
JEDA - I can admire the smartness of the uniform on May 17th but am not a fan of bringing them out for all formal social occasions. Thanks for the dress compliment Leah (& Jeda).
Batgirl & Michele: As for the bunad sexyiness factor? Must interrogate husband on his return home today. The girlfriend at the Danish confirmation was almost over-whelmed by the heat in her wool bunad as it was at least 30 inside. Sexy she did not feel.

OSLO said...

I have of course no problem at all with male Canadian bloggers wearing bunads. In fact, I think it should be a requirement for getting a work permit in Norway, as long as they post photos of themselves in their bunads on their blogs ;-)

Batgirl said...

I have no problem with foreigners wearing a bunad, whether it's one of the new-fangled cheaper ones, or the expensive ones. I'd say it's a major compliment, in fact. And if you're happy to walk around all day in a heavy wool outfit and painful shoes, be my guest :-) Granted, my sister bought an expensive pair of bunad shoes this year, and says they were amazing, so I might have to follow her lead. As it is, my back and feet are still in pain today.

As for feeling sexy: For that I'd rather be wearing a beautiful dress like yours than my bunad! :-)

JEDA: I'm sure it would be appropriate. I'd pick the bunad from the place I felt most connected to. My cousins in Switzerland have worn the Sunnmørsbunad with pride over the years, even though they're only half Norwegian, and weren't born here (born in South Africa). What's nice these days, is the fake ones, the "festdrakt". They're cheaper, and often a little nicer.

Anne said...

I am dating a Norwegian (he always checks OTHER on forms when they ask personal information about ethnicity) and my guess is BUNAD's don't do much for them either. I live in Southern Minnesota and there are a lot of Norwegians here and i see so many habits that you describe here too. I am non native to these parts as well (i wear my shoes in the house! and my family is mostly irish come over here in the 1900's). You should see how they DON'T react at sporting events.