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Faroese folk dance club with some members in national costumes

National costume (also: regional costume, folk costume or traditional garments) expresses an identity through costume which usually relates to a geographic area or a period of time in history, but can also indicate social, marital and/or religious status. Such costumes often come in two forms: one for everyday occasions, the other for festivals and formal wear.

Following the outbreak of romantic nationalism, the peasantry of Europe came to serve as models for all that appeared genuine and desirable. Their dress crystallised into so-called "typical" forms, and enthusiasts adopted it as part of their symbolism.

In areas where contemporary Western fashions have become usual, traditional garments are often worn in connection with special events and celebrations, particularly those connected with cultural traditions, heritage, or pride.

In modern times there are instances where traditional garments are required by law, as in Bhutan, where the traditional Tibetan-style clothing of gho and kera for men, kira and toego for women, must be worn by all citizens -- even those not of Tibetan heritage; or in Saudi Arabia, where women are required to wear the abaya in public.

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Examples of national costumes

Africa

West Africa

North Africa

Horn of Africa

East Africa

Southern Africa

Americas

Asia

Central Asia

East Asia

South Asia

Southeast Asia and Pacific

Cambodian sampot

Europe

Traditional kroj from Slovakia
Southern Spain, Andalusian folk costumes

Greater Middle East

President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai wearing his traditional Pashtun clothes and a karakul hat in 2003.

See also








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