Why We Wear Tracht!

The Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest is proud to uphold the customs and traditions of Germany, our ancestral  homeland.  Our members take pride in presenting an authentic festival, and that just doesn't include food, beer and plenty of fun.  It also includes wearing authentic clothing or 'tracht'.  

In earlier times, each 'tracht' identified a person as belonging to a particular group in terms of social and legal status (married, single), origin or trade. Today, the term is used to describe any garment reminiscent of the attire of rural communities. Regional varieties vary greatly.

Women's attire, the dirndl, consists of a close fitting bodice combined with an apron in a different color. Sometimes its sleeveless and worn with a cotton and lace blouse, sometimes it features sleeves and a high neck. Hats are often costly and elaborate. They vary according to occasion and region: 'Goldhauben' (Upper Austria) and 'Bollenhut' (Black Forest region, Germany) are only worn on festive occasions.

A man's traditional clothing is made from leather, linen and wool. The 'Lederhosen', knee-length trousers or short-pants made from leather are worn with rustic shoes and wool socks. Again, jackets and hats vary according to region and occasion.

In many regions, especially Southern Germany, Bavaria and Austria, it is still acceptable to wear 'tracht' on official occasions like weddings, festivals, Church services, etc. Contemporary fashion adapts to traditional elements, and today the production of dirndl and lederhosen is a thriving industry in Germany.