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EUSKAL JANTZIAK: Basque folk costumes

All white for the guys and red skirts for the girls were for a long time the norm for most groups. Some groups looking for variety, opted to go in different directions and that is what explains some invented costumes. Whereas this is great for indulging a creative urge, an alternative is to take into consideration the wide assortment of costumes depending upon the region and dance.

Related links for online costume shops:

Related links for costume ideas:     www.dantzan.com           dantzariak.net
www.euskaldantzarienbiltzarra.com         bizkaia.dantzak.com        gipuzkoa.dantzak.com


A great local resource for costumes is Lisa Corcostegui, Ph.D.  Check out her costume consultation webpage at www.dantzariak.net/consultation.htm



  How the Costumes in Traditional
Basque Dances Have Evolved

By Ane Albisu, author of ATONDU

In dance, and in the dances that are traditional in our case, the costumes play a tremendously important role. Movement, insofar as it constitutes corporal expression, unites with what the dancer wears and an overall evaluation of its result can be made. Moreover, it is the first thing that draws one’s attention, in other words, it is what establishes the dancer’s appearance.

We could say that when costumes and dancers achieve a kind of symbiosis, what we have before our eyes turns into genuine artistic expression. On the one hand, because the dancer adds movement to what he or she is wearing, and on the other, because the costume makes the dancer him- or herself feel special.

Moreover, the costume and garments generally worn in traditional dances can have symbolic meaning: the color red, men appearing in skirts, conical hats, masks, etc.

"I am of the opinion that little attention has been given to the field of dances on our cultural scene, at least not to the extent that one can find in other parts of the world."
~Ane Albisu

  2006-11-21_Ane-Albisu-Eibarren_025 by kezka.

However, in our dances the wearing of costume regarded as traditional has not been compulsory. Yet today we have tended to link the concepts of traditional costume with traditional dance, because our perspective of dance tends to be mainly directed towards the stage. What is more, throughout the 20th century dance served to make known a number of types of costumes and clothing that were on the point of disappearing, even though in many cases this clothing was not specifically used for dance. On other occasions, by contrast, they have been presented as having undergone a transformation.

Over the last one hundred years the fields of culture linked to our traditions, and in particular those relating to costume have not received the attention they deserved. The information about them that has been handed down to us has taken different routes which have frequently not been the most appropriate ones. This is why all the types of costumes we have seen, and go on seeing cannot simply be stuffed all together into one bag, because a considerable muddle exists. For example, it was not so long ago that I saw a linen shirt in a wardrobe department classified as garment for traditional dance. It is true that nowadays this is generally the use made of it, but we know very well that at one time shirts of this kind were not used exclusively for dance. They were a part of our everyday clothing, and what is more, similar garments can be found all over Europe. So, we need to distinguish between what, as far as we know, traditional garments were used for at one time, and what they are used for today.

What this example sets out to show is that our knowledge about traditional clothing is in general very limited. Firstly, because this branch of culture has not been given the importance it deserved. Secondly, the continuation of tradition was broken long ago in the Basque Country. And finally, and linked to the first reason, because the interpretation and use of the scarce data available has not always been conducted appropriately. Some of the criteria used have not always had a solid foundation, because they were established by people who knew little about popular culture. The result has not been the one we would have liked for the following reasons: on some occasions, as a result of negligence –because of the failure to attach importance to the subject- on other occasions, as a result of evil intentions (during the Franco dictatorship [1936-76], for example), and on most occasions, due to ignorance.

Another factor is that the use of traditional costumes and garments has changed a lot over the years. The origins of many of the elements used for dance over the last one hundred years can be found in the clothing that made up everyday garments. The latter, as well as those used solely for this purpose, have evolved, and we will be attempting to summarize all this here.

"And linked to dance, as far as the costumes are concerned, they have not only been particularly neglected and forgotten, they have not been given the importance they deserved.

  2006-11-21_Ane-Albisu-Eibarren_018 by kezka.

To focus on the subject I will be dividing it into two parts: the dances that are performed in the places where they originated and the ones performed on stage.

In fact, traditional dances tend to be performed by specific peoples and groups on certain days, in other words, for special celebrations.  But these very dances, and often, their adaptations, tend to be done in certain other situations as well, outside the place where they originated and in a totally different environment, in other words, as a display or show. In this case, the basis of the dance itself changes, and consequently, the costumes may also undergo changes or adaptations. However, it is often difficult to draw the line, because it has tended to be the dance company of the place where the dance is performed that goes elsewhere to put on their dance as a display or show.

So one can suspect that the evolution in costume has taken different directions. But the most profound changes that we will be highlighting are without doubt in the cases in which traditional dances are performed as a display or show in theatres and on stage.

Costumes worn when the dance is performed in the place where it originated

2006-11-21_Ane-Albisu-Eibarren_047 by kezka.   "Many regard [Basque costumes] as something trivial, but it is this precise attitude that I regard as very trivial. Our clothing is an important part of our personality and is on a par with language and all other forms of expression. So let us give it the place it deserves in our culture."

If we take as the basis the Classification of Dances made by Juan Antonio Urbeltz, we will be able to get a general view of what the costumes and garments used in our dances are like.

Dances performed by Men and Women in an Open Environment and solo performances done in the same way. (Branlia [dance in three parts from Zuberoa], Ingurutxoak [circle dances], Soka Dantzak [rope dances], Jauziak [high jumps], etc.)

In order to perform these dances, clothing made in the imitation of the everyday clothing that we Basques wore during the 19th century and mostly belonging to the agricultural environment is used. But even if this kind of clothing also has distinguishing features of ours (the way in which the scarf is worn, the beret, or laced leather sandals -“abarkak”– etc.), it was very similar to what was used all over Europe at that time. As they have been linked to time, they have also become traditional. So, the most outstanding features of that time have been preserved, and as they are for performing dances in a festive atmosphere, special adornments (ribbons, colored scarves) were added to them.

The women in long skirts, blouses or bodices, aprons, and headscarves decorate their hair by braiding it and adorning it with ribbons. Whereas the men wear long trousers, a shirt, a waistcoat (US=vest) and often a beret decorated with ribbons. Their footwear, on the other hand, usually consists of laced leather sandals or espadrilles (“abarketak”) or, on occasions, leather shoes.

2006-11-21_Ane-Albisu-Eibarren_038 by kezka.

What we have described here is very general. As some of these dances on occasions belong to Carnival or “Inauteriak”, they are also performed in the special Carnival costumes. On other occasions, as in the dances of the Pyrenean valleys, the local costume has been preserved right up to the present day, and this is what they wear.

However, we could say that they were performed in Sunday best as a general rule, and from the 20th century onwards it just so happened that 19th century clothing was preserved for these dances.

Ezpata dantzak [Sword Dances] (Zumarraga, Durango, Lesaka…)

As these dances are performed exclusively by men, what is used for this purpose is basically what we can call Ritual White Costume: white shirt, trousers, and espadrilles. The dancers then add a beret, a red belt and sash, and they often wear bells (sewn to a piece of cloth or leather), scapularies, and bands or sashes of different colors across their chests.

Lesaka dancers

Other group dances (Zinta Dantzak [ribbon dances], Brokel Dantzak [shield dances], Dances from Araba and the banks of the River Ebro in Navarre, Dances from Otsagi in Navarre, from Lanestosa in Bizkaia, etc.)

These are dances that have mostly been performed by men. The costumes they wear are principally white trousers and shirts, but they also wear colored ribbons and scarves, bells, skirts, special hats, etc. on top.

Inauteriak [Carnival]  (Betelu, Lizartza, Luzaide, Lapurdi, Zuberoa…)

During Carnival, apart from dances, other performances are put on. During Carnival, and if we go around our region, we will see different kinds of costumes. On the one hand, we will have the ones called fancy dress. But there are others that only dancers wear. These will be the ones that we will have to include in the overview we are giving. Describing Carnival dancers’ costumes will not be as easy for us as in the previous sections. In these cases the dancers, too, somehow wear the Carnival features in their costumes; variations exist between one place and another and this is determined by what the dancers have to do.


Zuberoako Godalet Dantza
Godalet (Goblet) Dance of Zuberoa (Soule).

Group dances are performed during some of the Carnival activities, just as in any other festivity. In order to perform them, we will see costumes that have a lot in common with the ones described earlier. In the town of Lizartza in Gipuzkoa, for example, they wear white garments underneath, and a cape on top.

But in other cases dancers are participants in Carnival performances and each one wears the costume corresponding to his or her character, as in the Maskarada or Masquerades of Zuberoa (Soule): Txerreroa, Zamaltzaina, Kantiniersa[2]

There are also those that go out in processions, in a succession made up of dancers and other characters. We can find the clearest examples in Lapurdi (Labourd) and Baxenafarroa (Lower Navarre).

In the costumes of the dancers during Carnival we can see ribbons, bells, colored scarves, crossed sashes and in particular, highly decorated hats. Most of them wear white garments as a base.

Other characters, on the other hand, wear military-type costumes if we consider the upper part of the body: jackets or dress coats. On their feet, however, they wear espadrilles decorated with ribbons and embroidery. The use of jewelry is also very widespread: on the shirt fronts of the Luzaide dancers, on the gaiters of the dancers of Zuberoa (Soule).

Costumes in the Pyrenean Valleys

Unlike in other parts of the Basque Country, traditional costumes have been preserved right up until today in the Aezkoa, Zaraitzu (Salazar) and Erronkari (Roncal) valleys. These are not specifically dance costumes, even though they have also been used for the purpose. They have special features and there are clear links between them and the costumes we can find around the Mediterranean.

Women Dancing

It is a well-known fact that women have not played leading roles in the panorama of our traditional dances. But we have been left with some examples in Eaurta or in Lekeitio for instance. But as a general rule the woman has always appeared alongside the man in our dances.

So the costumes they use are mainly based on everyday clothing.  Nevertheless, special elements are emphasized: capes, ribbons...

Modak eragindako gonen luzerak murriztu egin ziren
Skirts became shorter as a result of fashion.

When dance groups –in other words, of the type we are familiar with today– began to emerge, women also started to perform men’s dances and the costume known as the poxpolin began to be worn for the purpose. The features of this costume are similar to those that can be found in the areas on the shores of the Cantabrian Sea or Bay of Biscay: red skirt, black petticoat, white blouse, white headscarf, black apron and on their feet laced leather sandals with woolen socks, or white espadrilles decorated with red ribbons.


Arrasateko dantza taldea

Group of Dancers in Arrasate-Mondragon

Nevertheless, numerous changes took place throughout the 20th century. For example, in the length of the skirt and apron as well as in the quality and colors of the fabrics. Furthermore, the red skirts were interspersed with green ones. There was also a widespread trend to make the knickerbockers visible with their red ribbons underneath the skirt and petticoat. But if one looks at the trend in certain dance groups, this development has been less pronounced over the last few years and attempts to return to the basics have been seen. Once could say that as far as design is concerned, there is a growing trend to revert to the old models.

On the other hand, women participated in dance, as pointed out already, in costumes based on 19th century clothing, and, in the Farming and Fishing costumes, too, even if they were not used exclusively for dance.

Costumes worn on stage

It will prove more difficult to transfer the above classification to the stage, because we will be coming across different determining factors.

Indeed, the nature of the display or show has to be borne in mind. Even though on occasions the dance can be seen as it is with the usual costumes, there are other practices, too. They include displays or shows in which a combination of dances from different places are performed, ones that have a special atmosphere and specific staging, ones that include creative works, etc.

So if traditional dances have been presented and are being presented in many ways, the costumes worn by the dancers, too, are consistent with this. That is why we cannot regard all the costumes that appear in a display or show as traditional. Although some take their inspiration from these traditional costumes, creative works exist, too.

That is why ever since displays or shows based on traditional dances during the first quarter of the 20th century began to become popular, the costumes used during them were characterized by the look that the costumes used by many dance groups had. This has led to a profound change in the sphere of our traditional costumes.

Indeed, even if the dances and costumes shown on stage were based on traditional dance and costumes, their appearance began to change, not only with respect to the color and quality of the fabrics, but also in their design. That is why traditional costumes developed along two different routes. One is the costumes of the dancers who performed local dances undoubtedly being influenced by the economy, social situation, fashion, religion etc. We could say that we would regard this development as natural. The other route is that of dance companies drawing up lists of dances to be performed in theatres and on stage; by the first half of the 20th century the costumes presented under the name of traditional Basque costumes had little in common with the basic costumes, initially because of the adaptations made, later on because of the economic situation, and in the end because of the lack of information and references –in which we have to include politics (the violent influence of the Franco era, as pointed out already).


Bertako dantzarien jantziek urteetan zehar aldaketa geldoagoa jasaten dute

The costumes of local dancers have changed more slowly over the years.

Specific models emerged, and so up until today the evolution has been different depending on the Groups. Many have copied from each other without knowing which clothes formed the basis. And there is no denying that the copying of what has been copied has, in the end, brought about a profound transformation.

In the 1960s under the influence of the research conducted by J. A. Urbeltz, it was possible to revive costumes and clothing that were on the point of being lost, and present them to the public. After that, a movement arose linked to this trend, and it continues solidly even today.

Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that little attention has been given to the field of dances on our cultural scene, at least not to the extent that one can find in other parts of the world. And linked to dance, as far as the costumes are concerned, they have not only been particularly neglected and forgotten, they have not been given the importance they deserved. This is why the research conducted into them has received little help and encouragement. Many regard them as something trivial, but it is this precise attitude that I regard as very trivial. Our clothing is an important part of our personality and is on a par with language and all other forms of expression. So let us give it the place it deserves in our culture.

Modak eragindako gonen luzerak murriztu egin ziren
After the Spanish Civil War [1936-39], as our culture endured violent prohibition in many fields, it sought a way out to the best of its ability. One of them was through dance costumes. Even if the “Ikurrina” [the Basque red, white and green flag] was banned, its colors were used in the costumes, as well as other symbols.

1. Masquerades: popular theatre staged in the streets of the villages of Zuberoa (Soule). The whole community participates in a pre-carnival, light-hearted performance in a holiday atmosphere. Accompanied by music, dance and mime, the characters give short, satirical speeches or “funtzioak”.

2. Txerreroa: figure that carries a stick with a horse’s tail at one end; Zamaltzaina: horse; Kantiniersa: woman who used to provide soldiers with refreshment in the 19th century.

ATONDU: A Proposal for the 21st Century
By Ane Albisu

In order to approach the contribution of this book, I would ask some fundamental questions:  Why do we dress?  What do we tend to put on and when?  Every time we dress, we make a choice, depending on whether we are going to work, play sports, going on vacation, stay at home, or other necessities. On that basis, the garments and dress vary.  There are also other conditions that affect our clothes: personality, body, money.
In the dress of our society involved, therefore, factors such as place, time, personality ... and fashions. In recent years, throughout the twentieth century, what has most influenced the time of dressing is fashion. Today is no longer an option, but we are practically forced to dress as the market commands. There are exceptions, but generally speaking, true. For us, the word fashion, among other things, is associated with clothing, so that, when referring to a suit, we can say that is outdated or it is classic. Although we also have the traditional term.

Family Aramaio (Álava). 1865.
With regard to the costumes, we must say that in the case of the West of XX-XXI centuries, the use of these suits is limited particularly folk and festive activities, because it is a different from the usual dress.
In some cultures, however, traditional costumes, unrelated to fashion, have survived for years without major changes. Sometimes wear the whole suit, sometimes, only a portion, or arranged in a particular way. In these places, identity as a people is reflected in the suit itself, which not only looks at activities of a folk or representative.
In this part of Europe, however, traditional costumes are used on special occasions: parties, dances and celebrations, usually of a folk. For us, the traditional dress comes to be that: a dress preserved for years, which takes into valleys and villages on the occasion of a dance or special event.
There are countries that are rich in this sense, have kept many of these suits. In our country, however, have not kept this heritage. We dance costumes and parties, but do not have a wide range covering all ages and different social situations.
Like when a person is about to do something special, choose a particular dress, even when it comes to showing the identity of a people feel such a need. The suit will get a look expressive and symbolic value.
What I am saying is produced on multiple occasions (weddings, inaugurations, sporting events ...), not only at parties. In my opinion, is an aspect which should reflect. In the international ceremonies There is often a representative dressed after the fashion of his country as a sign of local identity. Many others, however, either do not have that kind of costumes, or store it for parties or dances, not to be the most appropriate to attend a ceremony. That is the question.
Here is an important gap, but up to us to recover the items and modes of adornment, and regenerate the customs.
In certain places or circumstances, for example, local identity can be expressed through the suit. In cultures that have preserved the traditional dress, most of the time it is an element that covers the head. There are many who, as a sign of local identity, dress hat, turban or traditional headscarf, despite taking the rest of the body as globalized Western clothing. Finally, after all, is in the head, in ideas, where our identity and personality, and that is the reason that is usually the last to miss the traditional mode of dress, or one of the few elements maintained. Also in our country txapela and to a lesser extent, the knotted handkerchief on his head, are the best preserved elements of our traditional dress.

Photo: Ikerfolk
The Basques we use the verb Jantzi (clothing) to refer also to the people "learned." A person Jantzi is a wise person. Therefore, on certain occasions when we want to show our being, our character, through our attire, we will choose the most appropriate garments seem to us. Pospolina The suit, for example, or the white suit of the men, although appropriate for a dance, not so for a wedding or to receive a prize. They are traditional, but not for those purposes.
We must also make another comment. If important is the dress, the dress and prepare is too. The materials and techniques that were used for the manufacture of these garments are also aspects that require special attention.
These last two ideas are fundamental to understanding the role of ATONDU. What we are talking about clothing?
The origin of the suit baserritarras
In Western cultures, in the early twentieth century there is a large gap. Fashion has become so hard that we can say that meant the conceptual innovation of the century. Euskal Herria In particular, the emergence of fashion and the dominance of the cities, along with the renaissance of Basque culture, led to the creation of what we know today as baserritarras clothes, clothing that symbolizes the character of every a country.
Farmers and fishermen in the early twentieth century retained much of our culture and traditional dress, even though they could be out there very similar costumes, came to be regarded as a symbol of the essence of a people. For this reason, in the holidays and pilgrimages Basque people began to dress in the manner of baserritarras, as proof of the identity of a people. Initially such suits gathered in the villages, but then entered into the twentieth century, the whirlwind of fashion also affected these garments, which were the subject of great change. He said what at first was the dress of a group, it became the traditional costume.
The clothing of the baserritarras of the late nineteenth and early twentieth disappeared by the mid of the latter, although at present we are more remains. Baserritarras The suit, however, continued to evolve throughout the century.

Image: Lamia
As I indicated above, was feeling the need for a dress that, under certain circumstances, represent our identity. For many years, this role was played by the baserritarras suit. But in his evolution was losing many of its original distinctive, and in many cases, were inappropriate (suits made industrially, lack of knowledge about their clothing, dark colors ...). In the 90s, and in order to facilitate a response to this loss, he turned to take the model of the peasant dress of the century, for use in various celebrations. Since the last traditional dress came to today, and be the source of baserritarras Costume, prevailed the tendency to return to origins. This was how Atondu activity.
However, the trend soon spread, and since the models had practically disappeared, many were based solely on black and white photographs, choosing the colors at random, using any kind of fabric and seams, and using industrial manufacturing . That's how we developed the "fashion" of this type of suit, now so popular. But there is a risk that, in many cases can be considered disguise. And that, as argued, our identity has to reflect what is observed at first sight. It is an area which, in our opinion, one should pay close attention.
The proposed ATONDU
Given the above, when proposing the suit, suits or clothes that reflect our cultural identity, we always have recourse to the sources. Always part of an information base that we serve, we recreate the clothing items that were rural, precisely because we believe that by recovering the lost property and give an application, we contribute to keeping the tradition.
On the other hand, it is necessary to recover some of the habits developed in the twentieth century and are close to extinction. It is true that the social political and cultural situation is very close, and that several items considered traditional may even have a pejorative sense or marking. Today, already entered the twenty-first century depends on us as we adapt our power to local circumstances and use it wisely.
The project ATONDU want to respond. We therefore believe that it is not make highly original costumes, but to adapt to every moment, and prepare and dress with dignity.
As can be seen in the book, we started designing these costumes from a solid foundation, based in the nineteenth century, and thinking, basically, to dress smartly. Therefore, try not to repeat our patterns and fabrics and makes use of quality.



Jatorrizko bertsioa euskaraz

C on el fin de acercarnos a la aportación de este libro, quisiera plantear algunas preguntas fundamentales: ¿Para qué nos vestimos? ¿Qué nos solemos poner y cuándo?

Cada vez que nos vestimos, hacemos una elección, dependiendo de si vamos a trabajar, a hacer deporte, a salir de vacaciones, a estar en casa, u otros menesteres. En función de ello, las prendas y la forma de vestir varían. Hay, además, otros condicionantes que afectan a nuestra vestimenta: la personalidad, el cuerpo, el dinero…

En la forma de vestir de nuestra sociedad intervienen, por tanto, factores como el lugar, el tiempo, la personalidad… y las modas. Durante estos últimos años, y a lo largo de todo el siglo XX, lo que más ha influido a la hora de vestir es la moda. Hoy en día ya no se trata de una opción, sino que estamos prácticamente obligados a vestirnos según manda el mercado. Hay excepciones, pero, en términos generales, es así. Para nosotros, la palabra moda, entre otras cosas, está asociada a la ropa, por lo que, al referirnos a un traje, podemos decir que está pasado de moda o que es clásico. Aunque tenemos también el término tradicional.

Familia de Aramaio (Álava)
Familia de Aramaio (Álava). Año 1865.

Con respecto a los trajes tradicionales, debemos decir que en el caso de los occidentales de los siglos XX-XXI, el uso de estos trajes se circunscribe particularmente a las actividades folclóricas y festivas, por tratarse de una vestimenta distinta a la habitual.

En determinadas culturas, sin embargo, los trajes tradicionales, ajenos a toda moda, han sobrevivido durante años, sin grandes cambios. En ocasiones visten el traje entero; otras veces, sólo una parte, o se arreglan de una manera concreta. En estos lugares, la identidad como pueblo queda reflejada en el propio traje, que no sólo se luce en actividades de tipo folclórico o representativo.

En esta zona de Europa, empero, los trajes tradicionales se emplean en ocasiones especiales: fiestas, bailes y celebraciones, generalmente de tipo folclórico. Para nosotros, el traje tradicional viene a ser eso: una vestimenta preservada durante años, que se lleva en valles o pueblos con ocasión de un baile o acto especial.

Hay países que poseen una gran riqueza en este sentido, por haber conservado muchos de estos trajes. En nuestro territorio, sin embargo, no hemos guardado este tipo de patrimonio. Tenemos trajes de baile y fiestas, pero no tienen un abanico amplio que recoja todas las edades y las distintas situaciones de la vida social.

Al igual que cuando una persona se dispone a hacer algo especial elige una vestimenta determinada, también cuando se trata de mostrar la identidad propia de un pueblo se siente ese tipo de necesidad. El traje a lucir va a adquirir un valor expresivo y simbólico.

Esto que estoy diciendo se produce en múltiples ocasiones (bodas, inauguraciones, eventos deportivos…), no sólo en las fiestas. En mi opinión, es un aspecto sobre el que se debería reflexionar. En las ceremonias internacionales a menudo suele haber algún representante ataviado según la costumbre de su país, en señal de su identidad local. Otros muchos, sin embargo, o no disponen de ese tipo de trajes, o los guardan para fiestas o bailes, por no resultar los más apropiados para asistir a una ceremonia. Ahí está la cuestión.

Aquí tenemos un vacío importante, pero de nosotros depende recuperar las prendas y los modos de acicalarse, y regenerar las costumbres.

En determinados lugares o circunstancias, por ejemplo, la identidad local puede expresarse a través del traje. En las culturas que han conservado la vestimenta tradicional, la mayoría de las veces se trata de un elemento que cubre la cabeza. Son muchos quienes, en señal de su identidad local, visten el sombrero, turbante o pañuelo tradicional, pese a llevar el resto del cuerpo según la vestimenta globalizada occidental. Al fin y al cabo, es en la cabeza, en las ideas, donde reside nuestra identidad y personalidad, y ésa es la razón por la que suele ser lo último en perderse del modo de vestir tradicional, o uno de los pocos elementos que se mantienen. También en nuestro país la txapela y, en menor medida, el pañuelo que se anuda en la cabeza, son los elementos que mejor se conservan de nuestra vestimenta tradicional.

Foto: Ikerfolk

Los vascos empleamos el verbo jantzi (vestir) para aludir, también, a las personas “doctas”. Una persona jantzia es una persona sabia. Por eso, en determinadas ocasiones cuando queramos mostrar nuestro ser, nuestro carácter, a través de nuestro atuendo, habremos de escoger las prendas que más adecuadas nos resulten. El traje de pospolina, por ejemplo, o el traje blanco de los hombres, aun siendo apropiados para un baile, no lo son para una boda o para recoger un premio. Son tradicionales, pero no para esos fines.

Debemos, igualmente, hacer otra reflexión. Si importante es el traje, el vestirse y prepararse también lo es. Los materiales y técnicas que se empleaban para la confección de estas prendas son aspectos que requieren asimismo una especial atención.

Estas dos últimas ideas son fundamentales para entender el papel de ATONDU. ¿A qué vestimenta nos estamos refiriendo?

El origen del traje de baserritarra

En las culturas occidentales, a principios del siglo XX se produce una gran brecha. La moda adquiere tal fuerza, que se puede afirmar que supuso la innovación conceptual de aquel siglo. En Euskal Herria en concreto, la irrupción de la moda y el predominio de las ciudades, junto con el renacimiento de la Cultura Vasca, llevaron a la creación de lo que hoy en día conocemos como Traje de baserritarra, vestimenta que simboliza el carácter de todo un país.

Los campesinos y pescadores de comienzos del siglo XX conservaban buena parte de nuestra cultura, y su vestimenta tradicional -pese a que fuera de aquí podían encontrarse trajes de gran similitud- pasó a considerarse símbolo de la esencia de un pueblo. Por tal motivo, en las Fiestas Vascas y romerías la gente empezó a vestirse al modo de los baserritarras, como muestra de la identidad de un pueblo. En un principio recogían tales trajes en los caseríos, pero luego, entrados en el siglo XX, el torbellino de la moda afectó también a estas prendas, que fueron objeto de grandes cambios. Lo dicho: lo que al principio constituía la vestimenta de un colectivo, pasó a convertirse en traje tradicional.

La vestimenta de los baserritarras de finales del siglo XIX y principios del XX desapareció a mediados de este último, pese a que en la actualidad nos quedan varios vestigios. El traje de baserritarra, sin embargo, siguió evolucionando a lo largo de todo el siglo.

Foto: Lamia

Tal como más arriba he indicado, se palpaba la necesidad de una vestimenta que, en determinadas circunstancias, representara nuestra identidad. Durante muchos años, este papel fue desempeñado por el Traje de baserritarra. Pero en su evolución fue perdiendo varios de sus distintivos originales, y, en muchas ocasiones, resultaban inadecuados (trajes confeccionados de manera industrial, falta de conocimiento con respecto a su vestir, colores oscuros…). En la década de los 90, y con el fin de facilitar una respuesta a esta pérdida, se volvió a adoptar como modelo el traje de los campesinos de principios de siglo, para usarlo en diversas celebraciones. Al tratarse de la última vestimenta tradicional que llegó hasta nuestros días, y ser el origen del Traje de baserritarra, imperó la tendencia de volver a los orígenes. Así fue como surgió la actividad de Atondu.

No obstante, la tendencia no tardó en extenderse, y dado que los modelos prácticamente habían desaparecido, muchos se basaron exclusivamente en fotografías en blanco y negro, escogiendo los colores al azar, empleando cualquier tipo de telas y costuras, y recurriendo a la confección industrial. Así es como surgió la "moda" de este tipo de traje, actualmente tan popularizado. Pero existe el riesgo de que, en muchos casos, pueda ser considerado disfraz. Y es que, tal como sostenía, nuestra identidad se ha de reflejar en lo que se observa a primera vista. Es un aspecto al que, en nuestra opinión, se debiera prestar mucha atención.

La propuesta de ATONDU

Teniendo en cuenta todo lo anterior, a la hora de proponer el traje, trajes o vestimentas que reflejan nuestra identidad cultural, tenemos por costumbre recurrir a las fuentes. Partiendo en todo momento de una información que nos sirva de base, recreamos las prendas que formaban la vestimenta rural, precisamente porque consideramos que, al recuperar el patrimonio perdido y darle un uso, contribuimos a mantener la tradición.

Por otra parte, es necesario recuperar algunas de las costumbres creadas en el siglo XX y que están a punto de extinguirse. Es cierto que la coyuntura social política y cultural es muy cercana, y que varias prendas consideradas tradicionales pueden incluso llegar a tener un sentido peyorativo o marcado. Hoy en día, entrados ya en el siglo XXI, de nosotros depende adaptar cuanto tenemos a nuestro alcance a las diversas circunstancias y usarlo sensatamente.

El proyecto ATONDU quiere dar una respuesta. Por ello, pensamos que no se trata de confeccionar vistosos trajes de gran originalidad, sino de adaptarlos a cada momento, y prepararlos y vestirlos con dignidad.

Tal como se puede apreciar en el libro, empezamos a diseñar estos trajes a partir de una sólida base, basándonos en los del siglo XIX, y pensando, fundamentalmente, en vestir con elegancia. Por ello, procuramos no repetir nuestros modelos y utilizar telas y hechuras de calidad.

Zure iritzia / Su opinión