This wedding headdress of a bride is truly unique. It is traditionally used (for several centuries in a row) only in one particular area of western Ukraine. The headpiece of the local brides looks opulent, eye-catching, and impressive. When a bride is wearing such a wreath, you can’t miss her. And by the way, even today, local women sometimes choose to get married in this authentic headgear, though not very often. Let’s find out more about this elaborate wedding headdress.
This bridal wreath is typically used by brides from Velykyi Kliuchiv and Malyi Kliuchiv villages, Ivano-Frankivsk region, western Ukraine. This area is populated by Hutsuls – sub-ethnic group in Carpathian Ukraine. Interestingly, this particular headwear isn’t used anywhere outside this area.
The main material of the wreath is white goose feathers. The feathers should be of the same size and appearance, taken from the same place under the goose’s wings. They are selected and arranged in a certain style to resemble flowers. Each flower consists of 6 bunches of feathers, 5-6 feathers in a bunch. There are usually 12-14 stylized flowers in a wreath. But a bride wears two wreaths – a smaller one at the front of the head and a bigger one behind it. They look like a whole piece but are two separate wreaths.
There is a belief that only geese with fully white feathers can be used for a wedding wreath – if even one feather on a goose is gray or black, this bird can’t be used because it can bring sickness and bad luck to the bride.
The heart of every stylized flower is adorned with beads and artificial flowers, which tremble and flicker when a bride walks or moves her head. The part of a wreath above the forehead is formed of artificial flowers, foil flowers, beads, sequins, and other decorations.
To make one wreath, a craftswoman needs feathers of 3-4 geese. By the way, only an experienced artisan can produce such a headpiece because the arrangement is rather complicated and labor-intensive. You need a lot of skill to create something so artful. Also, there are some superstitions as to who is allowed to make wedding wreaths – only an elderly woman who is happily married, has children and grandchildren, and is respected by the community may work with bridal headdresses. Today in Ukraine, there is only one craftswoman who still makes these bridal wreaths.
Such a headdress can weigh several kg (from 1 kg to 3-5 kg), despite being made from feathers and light materials. It takes about 3 weeks to create the headpiece. And to put this wreath on, a bride needs 2-3 hours and a few assistants.