[WORLDKINGS] Traditional clothing from around the world – P65 - Bigouden: A sophisticated 40cm-high hat from Breton people, Europe


(WorldKings.org) The story of the Bigouden headdress began around 1850. Women used to wear a simple black bonnet over their bun, hidden by a red band. Then a small headdress appeared towards the end of the 19th century. Made of white lace, with a little decorative point at the front known as a “beg” or “bigou”, which is most likely the origin of the word Bigouden !



At the turn of the 20th century, the headdress got taller. It was white, finely embroidered and the ribbons of the past were replaced by embroidery. As time and fashion passed, the headdress grew taller from 5cm to 10cm then 20cm. It took about half an hour to put it on.



Between the 1940s and 1960s the headdress reached 30cm and women gradually stopped wearing it on a daily basis. At the same time ‘Cercles’ (dance groups) and ‘Bagads’ (bands) were created to perpetuate local culture and traditions. Members learned to embroider and sew their costumes, to dance and play a musical instrument. Bigouden culture was displayed and handed down with pride.



Bigouden women no longer wear the headdress every day. It grew very tall because of local pride and rivalry between young women and it is still a source of immense pride today !



The history of the Bigouden headdress is also that of Bigouden women, moving with the times and adapting to changes in fashion. The headdress is an iconic part of local history which grew in stature thanks to the audacity, pride and character of the young local women. It became an emblem not just of Pays Bigouden but of the whole of Brittany.

Instead of nostalgically dreaming of the past, Bigouden traditions live on through young people who are glad to pass them on to others.

According to destination-paysbigouden.com

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