When we think of a traditional Indian outfit we think of the sari. When we think of a traditional Japanese outfit we think of the kimono. When we think of a traditional German outfit we think of Dirndl and Lederhosen… but are these really ‘traditional German outfits’?
The tradition of Dirndl and Lederhosen actually dates back all the way to the 18th century in Bavaria. Lederhosen, literally meaning ‘leather pants’, were worn by the working peasant community as they were sturdy, whereas the Dirndl, made up of a blouse, dress or bodice and skirt, and apron, was worn by the servants and maids as they were very practical for work both inside the house and outside on the farm.
So are they are a traditional German outfit? Well, the short answer is, no.
They originated and are still worn to cultural events in Bavaria today, such as the Munich Oktoberfest, and, whilst some people in the Bavarian countryside still wear Dirndl and Lederhosen every day, this is not the norm. Outside of Bavaria they are uncommon, although there are few exceptions, such as the Cannstatter Wasen folk festival in Stuttgart, however, they are not found in mid to north Germany. If you were to show up to an event in Hamburg wearing a Dirndl or a pair of Lederhosen people would probably be very confused or assume that you’re going to a fancy dress party.
We’d say the myth that Dirndl and Lederhosen are traditional ‘German’ outfits is:
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