Woman from the Western Polesse region in namitka
As I am in Belarus at the moment today I decided to write about traditional headdress of my homeland. It is one of the most beautiful and important part of the traditional costume. Its type, decoration and way of wearing could tell many things about the woman: her age, social and marital status, the place she belonged to.
Unmarried girls plaited their hair in one or two braids and wore headbands made of silk, linen and leather or circlets of flowers. Festive headbands were often decorated with webbing, embroidery or beads.
Women from the Central region of Belarus in different types of headdress
Married women could not show themselves in public without covering their hair. There were three types of headdress in Belarus: a towel-like (namitka, hustka); a horn-like (rozhki, saroka) and a cap-like (chapec, kaptur). The most common and most interesting type of Belarusian headdress was namitka. It is just a long piece of thin white of light-grey linen fabric 30-60 cm wide and 2.5-4.5 m long decorated with embroidered ornament along the borders. The beauty and uniqueness of namitka was in artful draping. Each district had its own way which sometimes could differ even from village to village.
Women from the Eastern Polesse region of Belarus wearing different types of headdress
A woman changed her girly hairstyle and headdress to the one of a married woman's during her wedding. There were everyday and festive variants of the headdress which had been worn during woman's entire life and then she was buried in one of them (mostly in the festive one).
A woman from the Neman-Dvina region of Belarus in namitka
Women from the Western Polesse region of Belarus in different types of headdress
Unfortunately nowadays many ways of traditional head-dressing are forgotten and one can see them only on old photos.
Photos by Belarusian ethnographer Mikhas Ramanyuk