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Shestine Umbrellas

Sun Nov 7, 2010, 7:07 AM


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Shestine Umbrella

To go with this:
Shestine Umbrella by silver-eyes-blue


Shestine Umbrellas (Translator’s note (TN): Shestine is a neighborhood in Zagreb)

The internet websites say the following about the Shestine umbrella: Shestine umbrella is a part of the Shestine traditional costume, which is typical for the area surrounding Zagreb. The costume was worn until the 1960-ies, after which it slowly disappears from everyday life.
The traditional costume is nowadays usually worn during various festivities or celebrations, and most of all for folklore purposes.

The Shestine umbrella however remained a recognizable souvenir from Zagreb. And this is the truth. But that is all they write about the Shestine umbrella. Many do not even know what Shestine umbrellas look like. And some do not even know what an umbrella is. (TN: There are two words for “umbrella” used in the original text – “ambrela” and “kisobran”. The first is a word used in a dialect spoken in Zagreb area, whereas the second is from the formal language. Here the author is trying to say that many people no longer understand the typical dialect of their home town.)
They hardly know of what color they are. Some may merely recall that there are some red umbrellas spinning on their poles in the Dolac market, defying any rain, storm or strong sunlight. But nobody notices them anymore, for they are here simply because they are, and because they have always been here. Now,  there are cheap, small, multi- or solid-colored umbrellas, and not many still know how beautiful the red Shestine umbrella is, with its wooden handle, like a sun surrounded by a rainbow.  

Yes, that is right, a rainbow spilled across the sun to color the rain. At the beginning, it was just an ordinary umbrella, like any other. Black, dark and dull, for that is what all the umbrellas were like. They served only one purpose – to protect the people of Shestine from rain and wind, that is why the umbrellas were so large. The legend says that things remained this way, until one day young Jankic came to tell his dear Janica that he loved her. Protected from the rain under the big black umbrella, the young man swore true and eternal love to his loved one. Their lips met, and the color of their love colored the umbrella red. From that happy day on, the previously black and unsightly umbrella turned into a beautiful red one.

See, this is how the Shestine umbrella came into existence. From that day on have the people of Shestine had their umbrellas. And today you can buy Shestine umbrellas in souvenir shops, but those are not the original ones. You can buy them at the umbrella-makers, who can make you the original umbrellas. The Shestine ladies not only carry their umbrellas when it rains, but also when it is sunny, like a parasol.

Especially when wearing the traditional costume during a performance or a fair. Of course, the Shestine gentlemen, too, because this is an umbrella for two. The sight of the umbrella is most beautiful when there are a lot of people around, for instance, when entire groups go together in their traditional costumes to visit places such as Bistrica. (TN: Marija Bistrica is a favorite place for pilgrimage, close to where I used to live.) They look like blossomed red roses, so that everyone knows these are the people of Shestine and their Shestine umbrellas.

“The most beautiful umbrella is the one from Shestine”, says Ivek, a character from the story “Shestine umbrella” (Sestinski kisobran) by Nada Iveljic. And Gabi Novak sings like this:

Šestinske ambrele
črlene fele
kak klinčeki se njišu.
Šestinske ambrele
mami  bi štele pofarbati kišu.
Na drvenom kolcu
se ziblu na Dolcu
najlepše rože grada.
Šestinske ambrele
črlene fele
Zagreb vas ima rada.

(TN: This is a close-to-traditional song about the Shestine umbrella, which I did not want to translate. I was hoping to find it somewhere and post a link, sadly, I was unsuccessful. T_T)

But there is another kind of Shestine umbrellas – those you can wear. This was a simple idea of the seamstresses. We decided that we all needed to wear the same skirts at fairs, even when we aren't wearing the traditional costumes. We needed something recognizable and unique. An original etno-design. And what is more recognizable than a Shestine umbrella? That's how it was. So I made red skirts with colorful stripes for all the seamstresses. So now when we get dressed up, everyone knows that the Shestine seamstresses are coming.

The Shestine lady (TN: This must be a nickname of a friend of author's.) and myself wear a somewhat more flowy design, whereas the rest of the lasses don skirts which are more ladylike and straight in cut. Still, they look more or less the same. So the idea was born, I drew the designs and had to sew super-fast (as usual), because I only had two weeks to finish them, as we wanted to wear them for the Day of Shestine.

That's how it was, we could only try them on once, no mercy. Etno-motifs and etno-design. Even Oscar de la Renta would not have come up with something like that. And Lagerfeld?! Don't want to even mention him.

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Nemesis12 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2010
That is such a lovely story.
silver-eyes-blue Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks ^^
Nemesis12 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2010
You're welcome.
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Submitted on
November 7, 2010