‘Bunad’ – The Norwegian Folk Costume

Spring is definitely coming up here in Norway; the temperature is rising, the days are getting longer and soon flowers will bloom. This is also the time when Norwegians take out their ‘Bunad’ from their closets to see if it still fits, clean the shirt and start polishing the silver accessories. (Photo shows Lofotbunaden for women)

Bunad is the traditional Norwegian folk costume that comes in many varieties, and 70% of Norwegian women own one. There are several rules on how to wear it and what the composition of textiles, colors and embroidery symbolize. To own one, you got to have a geographical affiliation to the district of origin. There are hundreds of variations of Bunads in Norway, all with their individual history and composition. Traditionally, the colors and embroideries were composed using local material, like sea weed for coloring and flower details in the embroideries. In the old days, the embroideries on some shawls used to describe what kind of marital status the woman had – white color meant single, colored meant married and black symbolized a widow. Today, this has less meaning when you choose your costume.

Learn more about Bunads here.

A Bunad is ‘a once in a lifetime’ investment. It is sewn in a certain way so ‘it grows with you’ – you can easily adjust the shape and size.

A national costume is very expensive. Not only do you need the clothing itself, but it also requires traditional silver brooches, ear rings and buttons to be complete. The total cost of an average Bunad with silver accessories, is approximately 4000 dollars. (Photo shows Romeriksbunad for men)

Bunad is traditionally worn on the 17th of May, the Norwegian National Day. It is a spectacular sight watching thousands of women, men and children parading in their finest garment celebrating Norway’s constitution, adopted in 1814.

Editor’s note: Be sure to follow ThorNews the next months, as we will present some of the Bunads with their history and details.


Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews

Photos: On top: Sando, below: Bunadrosen

Source: Norsk Flid

Categories: Bunad, Culture

1 reply


  1. Norwegian Cultural Gems – Burial Practices, Cemeteries, Heritage Clothing and Family Traditions | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

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