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Bavarian men wearing lederhosen

Lederhosen ("leather trousers" in German; singular: "Lederhose") are knee-breeches (knickerbockers or shorts) made of leather.

There is a widespread misconception that Lederhosen are a traditional national costume (Tracht) in German-speaking countries. They should rather be considered to be leisure wear for working-class men.

The word Lederhosen is frequently misspelled Leiderhosen (literally, "sadly-breeches"), or Liederhosen ("songs-breeches"). The German pronunciation is [ˈleːdə.hoːzən]. In English both /ˈleɪdərhoʊzən/ and /ˈliːdərhoʊzən/ are used.

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Traditional Bavarian men's clothing

Traditionally, lederhosen were worn for hard physical work, since they were more durable than textile clothing and easier to clean. They were widespread among Germanic men of the Alpine and surrounding regions, including Austria, the highlands and mountains of Southern Germany, the German-speaking part of Italy's province of Bolzano-Bozen (formerly part of Austria until after World War I), and Switzerland but not in Southwest Germany. The areas in Western Austria and Northern Italy are known as Tyrol and lederhosen are a characteristic of this region.

One attempt at modernizing lederhosen, "Double zipper" lederhosen were once even advertised as workout wear in 1970s Europe.

La Couturière Parisienne, however, claims that lederhosen were not originally only a Bavarian garment, but that they had been worn all over Europe, especially by riders, hunters and other people involved in outdoor activities—and not only by the peasant folk. Only people in the south of Bavaria (south of Munich) had "Lederhosen." The flap (drop front style) may actually be a unique, or clever, Bavarian invention. It became so popular in the 18th century, that it was known in France as "à la bavaroise," or "in the Bavarian style."[1]

The popularity of Lederhosen in Bavaria dropped sharply in the 19th century. They began to be considered as uncultured peasants' clothing not fitting for a modern city-dweller. However, in the 1980s a resurgence set in and several clubs were founded in Munich and other larger cities devoted to preserving the traditional rural clothing styles. The concept of Lederhosen as quintessentially Bavarian clothing, and their use at festive occasions rather than for work, dates largely from this time.

Lederhosen have remained regionally popular and are commonly associated with virility and brawn. Some men enjoy wearing them when hiking, working outdoors, on a stag night, or attending folk festivals and beer gardens; they are rarely seen elsewhere, and have acquired camp connotations in the rest of Central Europe. Nevertheless, they have remained a symbol of regional pride. Their role in Bavaria is thus comparable to that of the kilt/trews in Scotland or the cowboy hat in the United States.

Traditional German boys' clothing

Boy's lederhose, usually shorter than formal lederhosen and lacking embroidery

German boys used to wear lederhosen to the age of about 16. These lederhosen were less decorative than the Austrian tracht (mainly with regards to embroidery), but retained typical attributes like the suspenders/braces and drop front style flap. Even today, some German and French boy scouts wear various forms of lederhosen, although in most cases they do not form part of their official uniform. Lederhosen were also worn by Austrian boys from the 1930s to the 1960s. Today they are worn in special cases, like a Biergarten or on a Zeltfest. Girls wear the Dirndl as a part of the tracht.

Similarities in other regions

The Turkish oil wrestlers wear a kind of lederhosen called a kisbet, which are also embroidered and similar to the Alpine lederhosen, but without suspenders.

Notes

See also

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also lederhosen

German

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Lederhosen

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Etymology

Leder "leather" + Hose/Hosen "pants"

Noun

Lederhosen pl. (genitive Lederhosen, plural Lederhosen)

  1. any pants or trousers made out of leather
  2. lederhosen, knee-breeches made of leather







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