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Cretan costumes




Cretan traditional costume was of the most elegant and most complicated form of clothing and was divided into everyday and festive clothing. While in other regions traditional clothing was one of the first things to be replaced by western clothing – the so called "frágkika roúha" – in Crete traditional clothing is worn up until today, be it only by men and mainly in west-Crete. Women have long since stopped wearing traditional clothing.

Men's clothing
Everyday men's clothing was usually black: a black "vráka" (trousers), a shirt and a black head cover with dangling fringes. In the region of Malia men used to wear a sort of apron over their vráka, wrapped around their waist: the "brospodiá".

The festive vráka or "salvári" was made of thick blue felt and was worn with a white shirt, over which the "meidáni" and the "yeléki" were worn (the sleeveless jacket and the waistcoat). A blue or red coloured sash of 8metres long, tied around the waist, finished it off with a silver dagger stuck through it. A silver chain with on its end a pocket watch ("kioustéki") was hung around the neck. The Cretan boots – the "stivánia" – were sturdy knee boots; black for every day and white for festive occasions. Head cover would be a black netted turban, wrapped around the head with dangling fringes.

In the early 20th century this dress code was complemented with European clothing, while in the 1960s the original vráka was replaced by the so-called ‘kilóta’, baggy breeches that were worn inside the boots, combined with a black shirt. The head cover continued to be the fringed turban.

Women's clothing
Women’s costume tended to vary according to region and period. A basic garment was long white cotton underpants, covered with a "sártsa", a demi-frock on the backside and an apron on the front. A short woolen sleeveless jacket, usually dark blue or black and sometimes decorated with gold, was worn over a wide-sleeved white blouse.

The head cover usually involved a square kerchief, the "dzebéri": black for widows and older women and brownish or white for younger women and girls; it could be tied in various ways. Their boots were similar to the male "stivánia", only shorter.

Nowadays the only chance to see traditional clothing is probably at folklore festivals or organized Cretan dance evenings. These can actually be very nice, giving you an idea of the beautiful Cretan traditional garments. 

Crete Vraka

Vraka are Greek men's Baggy trousers worn with fullness between the legs, they were traditionally worn in Crete, Cyprus, Ionian and Aegean Islands and coastal regions of Greece.

Cretan turban
The traditional Cretan Turban (sariki) made its appearance in the second quarter of the 20th century in central Crete. It symbolizes the sadness and grief that caused the ottoman rule in Crete.

Cretan walk sticks (katsouna)
Katsouna is the traditional Cretan walking stick.Elderly people in the cretan villages constantly keep a Katsouna to help them to walk, also people who want to climb mountain areas and paths. Many times Katsouna was helpfull to shepherds to walk in their paths, to handle their pouch and in war times was a weapon against enemies.It symbolizes the Cretan pride and tradition .

Cretan knives

Sometimes the cretan men's clothing was accomplished with a knife.The typical Cretan knife, the way it has been retained up to now, was born at the end of 18th century and it has the shape of a shuttle. Its original shape was enthusiastically adopted by the Cretans and remained through time. Its blade is thick and flat, thicker in its base and is sharpened on the one only side.Its shape is straight, a bit curved at the end with a slightly upwards tip.The length of the blade varies, usually not very long.


Uploaded on Aug 29, 2009 by Yanitsaros

The song is ΠIΔIXTOΣ ΣIATOΣ (Pidihtos Siatos) taken from Guardians of Hellenism VOL 13 CRETE.
Crete (Κρήτη) has some of the most beautiful music and traditional clothes. Many of its traditions are some of the oldest in Greece.
Featured are men and women's cultural attire from Chania (Χανιά) - especially Sfakia (Σφακιά), Heraklio (Ηράκλειο), Rethymno (Ρέθυμνο) - especially Anogeia (Ανώγεια), and Lasithi (Λασίθι).

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