Wearing My Ancestors At the Crossroads of Genre

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Rebecca Horeth


Formerly presented by a new mother-in-law to a young bride after her wedding, the Transylvanian Saxon Haube, or embroidered velvet costume hood or bonnet, from Nösnerland in northern Transylvania appears on the surface to be folk costume, but its intersecting elements of folk art, rite of passage, and even folk belief prove that one category is not sufficient to understand the significance of this example of folklore text as I use it in the present. I apply Alan Dundes’ concept of “Text, Texture, and Context” (1980) while examining the Haube I own, possible methods of its construction and the material from which it is made. I use autoethnography to extract the messages I portray when wearing it in comparison to what is communicated through variants on display. The Haube is no longer worn by many married women in Canada, yet through examination of the one that was passed on to me after my wedding, I study the nuances of wearing, in comparison to displaying, this piece of folk clothing in order to discuss how folklorists might begin to categorize it. Finally, I consider how I transpose the personal significance of a tradition that was not designed for contemporary use through present-day donning and display, from its use in Transylvania to its
showcase in Canada today.

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Author Biography

Rebecca Horeth, Memorial University

Rebecca Horeth is a Masters Candidate in Folklore at Memorial University and Vice-President of the Alliance of Transylvanian Saxons in Canada.