MazurThe Mazur is one of the five national dances of Poland, which was developed in the eastern ethnographic area of Mazowsze. Its origins date back to the 11th century with the arrival of the Slavonic tribes to the region. Over time this lively dance was adopted by the higher social strata who developed and embellished it in recent centuries. The dance began to include elements from other regions and spread in popularity. It was often performed at court by young officers, thus gaining a military uniform as its alternate costume. Despite its high profile, the dance retains its peasant roots in the form of quick running steps with both the man and woman looking forward.
RzeszowskiThe Rzeszow region the south-easternmost corner of Poland has had a great variety of influences. Its geographic location exposed it to migrations, foreign occupation and trading. A beautiful and fertile area, it attracted a diverse group of people such as German, Wallachian, Ukranian, Lemko and Jewish settlers. These people influenced the regions' culture and this permeated to their dances and costumes. The dances tend to be lively and are filled with a variety of steps and formations.The men wear a sleeveless jacket and pants, which are both blue and have red embroidery. The full, white eyelet shirt has a special leather belt hanging over it, which loops around itself and hangs low at the side.The women's skirts can be any colour between yellow, green, blue or red. The vests are embroidered in beautiful beadwork, and come in various colours. The aprons and scarves are embedded with eyelet work.*Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.
Nowy SaczThe Sacz region in Poland has been marked mainly by its trade industry. The region lies in the heart of former trade routes between Poland and the Czech and Hungarian regions. The richness of the soil in this area also attracted settlers as far back as 4000 B.C.E. Over the centuries German settlers and the Ruthenians from the region of Volhinya to the south-east established villages in the area. This richness of influences and traded goods allowed the people of this part of the country to design elaborate costumes with intricate embroidery and a variety of features borrowed from neighbouring regions. One of the most visible of these is the 'Parzenice'; a wide leather belt on a man's costume which is typical of the Goral people in the mountainous region of Poland. The dances presented here feature some of the characteristic elements of the region including an all-male dance designed to impress the women.The men wear navy blue long coats, which are heavily embroidered with a floral motif. On the front of the pants are large, special embroidered patterns called parzenice. The white linen shirts are embroidered and are tucked into a large, elaborately tooled leather belt with many brass buckles. Their hats are decorated with flowers or ribbons.The women wear navy blue jackets with the same embroidered floral motif in mind. Their skirts are red and have black embroidery on the bottom. The aprons, worn overtop of the skirt, are black aprons that include needlework on it. Their white blouses and scarves are embroidered as well, and they also wear red coral necklaces.
KrakowiakThe city of Krakow in southern Poland in the ethnocentric area of Malopolska has had a rich history. Having been the old national capital and beiiing located on one of the maor trading routes joining the Middle East and Western Asia to Central and Northern Europe, the city has many influences. One of these comes to us in the form of the Krakowiak costume, which dates back to the 14th century when it arrived from Persia. In the 18th century, the costume was used a military uniform by General Kosciuszko. Today, the Krakowiak is one of the five national dances of Poland, but developed from humble roots in the villages surrounding Krakow. Eventually, it assimilated various elements from other regions of the country as well as military influences in the form of gallops imitating horsemen.The men wear red and white striped pants. The metallic disks, which are strung to the men's leather belts, come from armor. The tassels on the blue, sleeveless coat come from Napoleonic times, imitating military decorations. The outfit is topped with a four-cornered red hat, ornamented with ribbons and peacock feathers. The women wear beautifully embroidered and beaded velvet vests, and floral challis skirts, which can be made from any colour. A single woman wears a wreath of flowers, while the married woman wears a white kerchief. Ribbons are worn on the right shoulder and hang loose. *Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.
KolomajkiAnother of the many dances from the region of Slask shows off yet another element of Polish folklore. The Kolomajki is a dance performed by young girls only. It seems it was a way to show men that girls can also perform by themselves and not necessarily as a means to entice a man to dance.
KaszubskiThe region of Kaszuby in north-central Poland is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The original inhabitants of this region, the Slowinski people, were related to the Latvians and Lithuanians. During the domination of the Teutonic knights over the region from 1226 to 1466, the Kaszubians saw influences of the Germanic culture permeate their traditions. Consequently, their dances also changed and today they display a rich mixture of Polish, German, Latvian and Lithuanian elements. Since the region is in a maritime region, the Kaszubski Suite also displays influences introduced by the fishermen.The Kaszubski costume is typical of the Kaszubian Lake district in the early 19th century. The men wear dark blue heavy cloth coats with brick red belts. Their yellow pants are tucked into long black boots. Their black hats have a red embroidered band, however, their cotton or linen shirts are unadorned.The women's dresses are blue with floral pattern embroidery on the bodices. Over their skirts they wear white aprons decorated with simple eyelet work, while their white blouses are plain. Their blue bonnets, first made in convents in the 18th century, are ornamented with raised embroidery.*Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.
Goralski PodhalanskiThese are highland dances of the inhabitants of the Tatra mountains, full of bravado and vigor. There are dances by maidens and lads in which the lively temperament of the highlanders pours out. Very small, precise steps are characteristic in these dances, as in the Kresany, which means"to strike sparks out of mountaineers' axes", and the Zbojnicki, the term for highland robbers. In these dances the boys display feats of skill and strength to impress the girls. The tradition has it that Góral men impress their women with their fancy dancing and complicated footwork.
The people of Podhale, meaning below the mountain pastures, are mountaineers and shepherds. They owe their culture and folklore not only to southern Polish elements but also from Slovak highlanders who live just on the other side of the Czech border.The men wear tighten, wool pants that are decorated on the front with parzenice (special embroidered patterns). Their white shirts have little ornamentation but are held together by brass or silver pins. Around the waist they wear heavy leather belts decorated with many buckles. They wear leather slippers called kierpce. The hats are made from black felt and are decorated with cowrie shells and an eagle feather. The men carry with them a ciupaga, which is a mountaineer's axe.The women wear floral printed skirts and richly embroidered velvet vests, which are tied at the front by a large red ribbon. Their blouses have wide frills and cuffs, and also have elaborate embroidery. They wear red coral necklaces and shawls to match their skirt. The women wear woolen socks and also have kierpce. *Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.