Romanian women in Sunday dress

This photograph was in a collection of materials dating to the years just before, during and after the First World War.  Printed on plain paper larger than a postcard, my guess would be that it was taken after the war.  On the back is a brief inscription in German: “Rumän. Bäuerinnen i. Sonntagsgewand” (Romanian countrywomen in Sunday dress).

Romanian women in Sunday dress 2

(I couldn’t read the word Sonntagsgewand.  Thank you to Joachim at Bibliothekspostkarten for deciphering it!)

I wonder if these women dressed this way every Sunday, or if this was a festival or other special occasion.

Romanian women in Sunday dress 3

Romanian women in Sunday dress 4

The three of them were clearly friends.  The woman in the center has her arms around the other two, and the woman at right (above) is holding her hand.

What do you think their lives were like?

Romanian women in Sunday dress 5



34 thoughts on “Romanian women in Sunday dress

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  1. Oh how wonderful! John and I traveled in Rumania before all the Ceaucescu craziness and saw Rumanian women dressed very much like this, along with beautiful carved and painted farm gates and country churches filled with glittering, priceless icons. I am surprised not to see any of the famous embroidery on the blouses. (I think the plain white ones are much prettier!)

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  2. I think the two women on each side might be sisters? I’m thinking that the woman in the middle works outdoors, probably on a farm. She looks like she has some sun damage on her face. It’s a delightful picture. They look so comfortable with each other.

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    1. I made the same assumption about the woman in the middle being a farm worker or some such, but then I looked at her hands. They’re several degrees lighter and seem relatively smooth; I wonder if it might have been the processing that created the difference.

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    2. I think the woman in the center does have a tanned face, even though her hands don’t look as dark. Maybe she did outdoor work which exposed her face to the sun but not her hands? Maybe she wore gloves? But then, why don’t the other two women look as tanned? They may have had different occupations….

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      1. I expect you’re right, that the three women had different occupations. Regardless of their occupations, I’ll bet all three welcomed the opportunity to hava a day off and put on their Sunday best.

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  3. Two details that caught my eye were the shoes (one in boots, the other with those cute upturned toes) and the fabric in the skirt of the woman on the left. There’s a name for that kind of fabric, and I can’t remember it or find it. I had a dress as a child that was similar: solid color with the patterns woven in. Maybe someone else will know.

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  4. Such a nice photo! I once hade some of the Romanian blouses with embroidery, my parents went there two or three times, long ago. The woman in the middle is sunburnt, but now I see her hands… strange. I think they are good friends.

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  5. I scrolled back and forth – the two on either end look so similar. They must be sisters. They even share the same necklace and hair accessories. Looks like they had a very special bond with the lady in the middle.

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  6. The traditional-style shoes of the two on the right, their jewelry, flowers in hand and hair, all make me think they’re dressed for a special occasion, maybe a wedding or cultural holiday. To me, they all look alike, sisters, relaxed and used to being together. Great photo!

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    1. My thought, exactly! That’s why I’m skeptical that this was simply their Sunday dress. Especially those shoes and socks! Another commenter suggested that they might have dressed up for a wedding. Something like that would make sense.


  7. What a lovely photo! I especially like the flowers in their hair and around their waists. My guess is the mother is situated between two daughters, since she has her head covered in a more matronly fashion while the daughters are more “decorated.” After a bit of research: the choker necklaces were unique to the region of Transylvania, and the huts in the background were traditional homes in the Carpathian Mountains (most likely agricultural communities).

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  8. I wonder why the inscription is in German and not in Romanian. Does it imply that the photo was taken in Germany or by Germans? It also stuck me that the woman in the middle looks so much darker than the other two. It doesn’t look like natural suntanned skin but something else… I think they were dressed for some special occasion and not for every Sunday. Have a beautiful week, Brad! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My theory is that someone from Germany was traveling through the area and asked the women to pose for the photo. Maybe the traveler came to the village for a festival or celebration of some kind. Maybe “Sunday dress” was just a way of saying that the outfits were special. Thank you for commenting, Isabelle! It’s always nice to hear from you. I hope the November weather isn’t too awful there in Oslo. 😌

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been raining for weeks. The sun came out last Saturday and was gone Sunday. I had a run along the coast and took some lovely sunset pictures. Tried to post you one on the comment but it didn’t let me to. Sigh…☺️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s pretty easy to post a photo into a comment if you know the trick! What you do is upload it to your own website first. Go to “My Site” and click on “Media,” then “Add new.” (You’re not adding it to a post, so it won’t show up anywhere on your site. It just goes into your Media Library.) After you upload the photo, click “Copy link,” then paste the link into the comment box on the blog where you want to share it. Feel free to try it here if you want! I’d love to see a Norwegian sunset. 🙂


  9. Lovely portrait of a place, time, and culture. I would definitely say they are three sisters. Those shoes are so interesting. The way they wear the skirts up so high is different. Seems to make the left woman’s arms look extra short.😊

    Liked by 2 people

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