This way a balance is achieved for a little while. Rather fragile and extremely difficult, for the distances to travel now were partly enormous.
The map shows very clearly the radius each hat maker covered. It also shows the consequences if one person failed to work at this stage of development. In 1930 one single woman in Unhausen Wabern provided service for over 20 villages, one from Harle looked after 1 and one woman from Rockensuess Sontra cared for 14. It is clear that if one of these women failed to perform, a balance could not be established – the costume was at the end.
Obtained questionnaire information from the county of Rotenburg and Eschwege reveal: At the age of 60 to 70 years in the proper location, is still alive probably refers solely to such cases. Likely none of these old women volunteered to understand the creation of the Holy Communion Bonnet.
With these bonnets the frozen end form and their sudden disappearance is most noticeable. One only needs to think about the famous Spree forest and Alsatian bonnets, which were also apotheoses of perished costumes. This counts for other similar costume pieces as well. Since roughly 100 years the costume stands on shaky ground, due to the lapse in rural economy. The industry products were fitted to the country style taste. Fabric and ribbons were sorted according to the various area costumes. Manufactured with care and delivered over decades. It was a peaceful, safe and lucrative business. Dozens of craftsmen worked exclusively for the costume industry. This way the costume became so dependent on coincidences that the farmers had no further influence. Since the First World War lamed the industrial production of special costumes and also the manufacturing of these outfits was not an accredited occupation any longer, could not be counted on substitution or new purchases. Then happens what is mentioned above: An early death or a rustic long life of a single craftsman can either prolong or end the existence of costumes. We notice the effect, but not the cause. Therefore are tempted to see in acknowledging or rejecting still an act of will, where there is in reality the decision has been made on different levels.
As Horst Hucke1 by the Working Rural clothing Alkreis Rotenburg of the 19th Century writes, we understand under ‘Tracht’(costume), ‘was man traegt’ ( what you wear). ‘Man’ does not leave room for contradiction. It does not determine whether it dresses you or whether it is fashion. One wears it because the parents already did so and because all others are wearing it and because one cannot exclude them self from society. The costume gives security in insecure times, the feeling of togetherness, the knowledge of security, provided it is not outside the village community. Costume also had an order function. They ordered people by sex, origin, life stages, family status and villagers. Costume distinguishes between city and country. “The city person seems to think of himself elegant and better than country folks. He seems to show this with exterior clothing and because he wears what was urban, he is more inclined to rewards himself through elegance and fashion.”2 Hucke adds that the costume changes and again fashionable influences are considered. It was tried to adjust to urban clothing. Hucke supported this historically with reference to the dress code of Landgraves of 1773, when foreign products such as cotton and Zitz, velvet and silk were banned in order to curb the clothe splendour. The use of indigenous materials such as flax and wool was
ordered. The ban, however, affected only the lower class people. Whether the ban was followed up on or not is not clarified. Since the costumes were given from generation to generation, despite the request from the ruler, there could still be cotton band be founds on the skirt hems. But they could only be seen if the skirt was lifted.
Probably the increasing industrialization with jobs in the cities and the incoming of modernity in the village led to the dissolving of social and community forms, so that the old rules for clothes lost their meaning. The clothing as such, including the costume took on a modern, urban look and grew individual. The costume slowly disappeared from Datterode. Only elderly women would still wear it into the 20th century.
In Datterode however, the costume was brought out off and on, usually for the harvest fair. That is when the robes and gorgeous head gear were shown to the villagers during a parade. Datterode even had a Costume Group once. Its members had old costume re-manufactured for handsome money. They also performed old folk dances.
In essence, if you speak of costume it is always the women’s being discussed. Evidently the decoration of the women stood in the foreground. As for the clothes of men there are no sources that mention any. The clothing was the everyday work clothes, but also the so-called Hesse coat. In general, blue, linen shirt with embroidery on shoulders and sleeves (see photo archive).
The two wedding photos in the archives show the bride the wearing a rosemary branch on the head. The white ribbons are today replaced by a veil. For the wedding night a bonnet was put on the brides head. Thus getting married means – getting under the hood. Did you know that the German adage finds its source here?
The description of the costume by Luise Gerbing contains older happenings and authentic documents. The review by Rudolf Helm describes the snapshot at the same time documenting further development findings by Luise Gerbing .
Many pieces of the old Datterode costumes are probably lost. A recent appeal to the residents of Datterode to submit old costume pieces to the “Heimatverein” had little response. There are still some parts to be had, which we hope to document in our photo archive.
If you, dear reader, know of any costumes or parts of it in Datterode or the Ringgau area, please let us know. It would be nice to document this remnant of the old-time. So, starting in the attic!
1 Horst Hucke, “Dress of the women in Datterode 150 years ago” in “850 years Datterode”
2 Staatsarchiv Marburg: 5. Hessischer Geheimer Rat Nr. 1609
The Datterode Costume