Sunday best


Festive Mass in Bârsana/Barcánfalva. The monastery complex, built in 1993 but referring to many centuries of tradition, is the idealized re-creation of a never-existed prosperity. Its church tower is the second tallest wooden building in Europe, preceding the 18th-century Șurdești/Dióshalom church. The mass of the faithful is constantly flowing around the entrance, from inside two nuns are singing on a penetrating, ringing voice.

Just thirty years ago, they still largely wore homespun clothes and plaited shoes in these parts, the spinning reel could not fall off the hands of women for any moment, the home production of tissues – enforced by poverty and isolation – gave a lot of work. The accessible prices of ready-to-wear clothes have changed a lot in everyday clothing, which, on the other hand, made the pieces of traditional costume an identity element to be consciously retained.


The general rise of nationalism brought back folklore elements into street fashion in Hungary, too, but here, in Maramureș they – not accidentally – appear more organic and continuous than the Matyó embroidery on the Budapest asphalt. Depending on the quicker or slower pace of labor market mobility, the ethnic wear is increasingly limited to the festive occasions. On these occasions, however, even those put on a piece of traditional costume or one referring to it, who do not wear it any more in everyday life.