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Constantinos Patsalis

The female costume in Orchomenos, Boeotia.

Patsalis, Contsantinos: "The female costume in Orchomenos, Boeotia (Greece)",17th International Congress on Dance Research, Naxos, 22-26/10, 2003.

Orchomenos is a town in Boeotia with 6000 years of history. Its ancient inhabitants were called Minies. Frixo and Helle’s myth was born there. The three Harites were also worshiped in this town.In 1835, alter the liberation from the Turkish domination, the municipality of Orchomenos was made up of the villages Scripou, Petromagoula, Karia, Nision, Saint Dimitrios, Vranezi and Molivi. Orchomenos was and still is a big agricultural centre due to the fertile valley of Kopais.

The woman’s costume in Orchomenos is similar to the one in Atalanti but not identical. In all festivals, religions festivities, weddings, baptism the women seized the opportunity to show off the wealth and the mastery of their suit of clothes.The woman’s traditional suit of clothes in Orchomenos consists of the following parts:

1. Scarf (Madili). It is square , silk or cotton scarf. It is white or cream- coloured. Around it there are “fioria” (small pompons from silk and cotton). The scarf is crossed tied at the back of the head and fastened on the top.

2. Shirt (Poukamiso). It is made from silk or cotton material. It is white or cream-coloured usually stripped.It has a neckline and an opening on the chest with lace around. Above the chest the shirt forms gathers. The sleeves are wide and long, forming gathers around the wrist and have a lace ending.

3. Skirt (Fousta). It is of same material and colour with the shirt. It is long, it forms gathers at the waist and has a wide lace on the lower part onto the material.

4. Underskirt (Mesofori). It is of cotton material and shorter than the skirt with lace on the lower part and it is worn underneath. It is white.

5. Sagias. It is white, cotton embroidered with black string from the waist and above. It has no sleeves . Around it at the end there is a hand made embroidery with crimson, white and green thread usually on a crimson hem. It is open on the front in order to show off the breast. On both sides it has hand made embroidery-usually rosettes-with crimson, yellow, green, white and silver coloured thread. At the back and the lower part, sagias, forms two ends –projections-full of embroidery. It has also hand made embroidered braids on the same part. Sagias is tied above the breast with a cordon on a fabric button the same with the braid.

6. Apron (Podia). It is crimpson made of the velvet and it is rectangular . It has hand made embroidery usually yellow. The most popular designs are the “cypress-trees”. The apron is worn under the sagias.

7. Girdle (Zonari). It is made from velvet or cotton material with hand made embroidery. It is worn on the sagias on a level with the waist .

8. Florins (Flouria). The strings of florins is really impressing . It covers the body from the chest to the belly. Among the florins there are pink beads (known as pearls). The string is surround by a golden braid. There are usually four decorated catchings, one for each side of the string in order to fix it on the sagias.

9. Other jewellery. The necklace is a necessary jewel worn between the neck and the breast. There are also the silver bracelets and finally the florin earings. The brooches seemed to stop being in use at the beginning of the last century (there are photographs from 1905 to 1915 showing women in Orchomenos wearing brooches whereas in later photographs brooches do not exist as a jewel of the suit of clothing.

The author

Constantinos Patsalis was born and brought up at Orchomenos in Viotia. He studied at the Teacher’s Training College in Mitilini. In 1997 he was appointed as a teacher in Orchomenos. Since 1982 he is involved in the traditional (folk) dancing whereas since 1993 he is a dance teacher in the dance group of the municipality of Orchomenos. At the same time he is concerned about the manners and customs of his area.

Mr. Constantinos Patsalis


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