what is a bunad? what is a festdrakt? do I own a folkdrakt?


I often hear folks say…I have a new bunad…or I just inherited a bunad and then I see what they have and I realize they do not own an ekte bunad.

What they have is often a Festdrakt or a Folkedrakt.

What is the difference….oh boy that is the $ 1 million question.

You must go to the Norwegian Council of Folk Costume or

” Norsk Institut for Bunad og folkedrakt”

If you were to google the name (Norsk Institut for Bunad og folkedrakt) and wanted to find out what they write about it on the Internet  here is some of what you will find…..

“Costume and folk costume council

Costume and folk costume Council (BFR) is a state-appointed counsel, who shall be an advisory body for the national costumes and folk costume work at the Norwegian Institute of costumes and disguises (NBF). General Manager of NBF’s secretary costume and folk costume council.


  • 1. Purpose   Costume and folk costume Council (hereafter Council) shall promote, preserve and perpetuate the use and the making of costumes in Norway, as an expression of cultural identity and as carrier of distinctive qualities.

Cultural heritage is not exact .  All cultural forms evolve through interaction between tradition and new impulses.Norway is characterized by a large diversity that gives us a dynamic and living culture. In this diversity requires the knowledge and insight to facilitate the development of the traditional cultural expressions we want to protect, so that they can live on in a dynamic and meaningful interaction with notida human.

  • 2 .Status Council hosted appointed by the Ministry of Culture and is an advisory body for the work of the Norwegian Institute for costumes and disguises (hereinafter the Institute) and the Ministry of Culture.

1. The institute is part of Valdresmusea through an agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Valdresmusea, January 2008.

  •  3 .Organization The Council shall have five members and two alternate members. Ministry appoints one of the members of the Council to chair. Members and alternate members shall have a term of four years. . No council members can have continuous term of more than eight years.

The Institute serves as secretariat to the Council and participate in all meetings.  Minutes should be sent Council members and deputies. Remuneration of Council members is established by Valdresmusea and should be in a reasonable relation to the work that came with them recruited. The new appointment sit Council members are appointed to the new.

  •  4. Tasks of the costume and folk costume council  The Council shall ensure that efforts to preserve the cultural expression costumes and disguises represent, are advocating in the best possible manner in the country.  The Council, its activities lay emphasis on the following tasks:
  • Adding Prepared for the collection, documentation, restoration, research, preservation, and dissemination within the costume and folk costume academic area •  Helping to increase awareness, interest and understanding of costume and folk costume as cultural expression •  Contribute to increased knowledge tilverking and use of traditional Norwegian costumes and disguises •  seeks to facilitate the development and revitalization within the costume and folk costume academic area • • Encourage the development of multi-cultural meeting places

The Council shall act as professional advice and support for the Institute in their management of the costume and folk costume professional work.  The Council shall: •  Assess Goal achievement and comment on the annual report from the Institute •  Contribute to the preparation of plans and budgets for the department, in consultation with Valdresmusea •  Comment on appointment of the Head of the Department and participate in the process in consultation with Valdresmusea

The Council will provide advice to the Ministry by: •  Commenting on the annual report from the Institute and provide an overall assessment of the work and Goal achievement in both the Institute and the Council •  Comment on the part of the annual budget application from Valdresmusea concerning work at research institute

The Council shall initiate public debate and comment publicly on issues costumes and disguises.

  • 5. Changes in guidelines  Culture Ministry to change the guidelines.  Valdresmusea be consulted  in connection with the proposed amendments.”



They have also determined categories for each “level” as such for bunad and they are determined as:

The National Bunad Council Bunad- og Folkedraktrådet , the authority on national costumes appointed by the government, has developed five categories to grade modern day bunads according to ‘authentic’ regional folk clothing:

Category 1 – a bunad that represents a ‘final’ link’ in the development of a folk costume.  This is basically an original folk costume that has taken on the function of a bunad.

Category 2 – a bunad that has a background in a particular folk costume that is out of use but not forgotten.  It is generally reconstructed from first-hand knowledge.

Category 3 – a bunad that has been reconstructed from preserved folk garments which reflect the actually time and region of the piece.  Pictures and writings are used as sources in reconstruction.

Category 4 – a bunad that has been made based on random and incomplete folk material.  Missing peices have been designed to match the style of the materials.

Category 5 – a bunad that has been completely or partically ‘freely composed’.  It was the 1800s bunad movement that has given these types of bunad their status.

New ‘bunads’ that are being designed every year, must go through the strict judgement process of the National Bunad Council in order to be classified as a proper ‘bunad’.  The council is very strict in making sure new additions follow closely the traditions and history of the area.  Because of this, many designs today, even though they have the same function as a bunad, generally don’t make the cut and thus can not be called ‘bunads’.  They recieve the name ‘festive costumes’ or drakt instead.


All that being said there are many “bunads” that have been in existence for many years such as ones from Oslo (since the late 1940’s) and Bergen (since the early 1950’s) which are still considered drakt and you will often here them called bunad but they are called Oslodrakt ….much cause for debate for those who live in the U.S and in Norway….

oslo mother and daughter





bergensdrakt_dame_modellBergen Lady in White Bunad

From Bergen

There are many other very popular bunad/costumes that are also drakts and they are:

Lundeby and Graffer

graffer-bunadrosen-06 Rekontr_Graffer_monster_kva_large blaa-graffer-blomst 450010_01-568x1024 450030_02-568x1024 Grafferbunad imagesO7CJPYEK


1 4 embroidery embroidery3 embroidery5 embroridery4 3 ladies and a child in a Lundeby Full photo of Lundeby Lundeby Lady Lundeby white lundeby3Nlite lundeby3Vstor


Now you want to know what  Festdrakt and Folkedrakt look like…well that will have to come in another blog as we have talked about this before and I have posted photos and I  talk about this many times…and each time I discuss this topic no matter where I go and how long we talk about it the last question everyone ask me is:

“What is the difference between a bunad and drakt ? “


They will say: “I have my bunad on today”

and this is what they are wearing:

Every Day Costume in red

Although this is very nice….it is NOT a bunad…it is a Folkedrakt…one that makes a great deal of sense if you live where it is very warm. It is fun to wear at festival and please enjoy wearing it. Just remember to call it as it is…your folkedrakt !!!!!

4 responses »

  1. Hi, just a bit of correction:-) The above cotton is a hverdag bunad. Folk drakt refers to the clothing worn in the past as it was originally used. It could be festive or used for everyday… Bunads are the modern use of clothing often derived from folkdrakt. Festdrakt simply means festive clothing usually with no ties to the original clothing.

    • Thanks so much Sue I appreciate your comments as you are an expert on this and highly suggest any one who would like additional information to contact Sue at the email that is listed. Please continue to add your insights….

  2. Hi I am wanting to make a bunad for my granddaughter that is going on 10 My ancestors came from the Hol Hallingdahl area, I have a very old hat that was made for a person in the past but the colors do not match or the design of the samples shown. Also what is the type of wool fabrics and the wool yarn that is proper to use for the bunad. What was worn for under garments? And if layer s of many skirts was that also typical for this area. I could mail a photo of the hat if that would help with finding the area exactly.. Also wonder then where to see the needlework design for the dress. And what is fabric of the flower apron? Was the bands edged with red wool or velvet. Does the bag hang by strings or the silver> Any help would be super. Please reply if time. Judy

  3. Hi Judith My best suggestion is to contact Sue at http://www.bunadbutikken.com/ she can provide you with a kit that will give you everything you will need to make a Hallingdal bunad. It will have the pattern you will need to follow for the pattern that is necessary for the hat as well as the garment. The kit has the correct wool as well as the wool yarn in the correct colors. They do not sell the patterns in Norway other than in the kits. You can see the pattern in the background of my website but in order to follow the pattern correctly you are best to buy the actual kit. It tells you where you use the exact color and what type of stitch to use. Sue can sell you the flower fabric apron. This will insure that you have the proper fabric. The silver is available thru a website http://www.sando.no. They are great to work with. Sue has silver for sale so you have a choice on who you wish to purchase it thru. I can send you the silver you need but the Sando website has wonderful photos of the exact silver necessary for many of the more popular bunader…. they both also sell you the correct bunad shoes.
    Let me know if you need any additional information. Deb

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