Ritual towel from Bielsk Podlaski and surroundings

The ritual towel is one of very important indicators of the culture and the tradition of residents of the Bielsk Podlaski community.

This uniqely adorned relic attests to the wealth of our traditions and it is tells us about the local population and their customs. Still in the 1940s, 50s and 60s of the last century young girls were embroidering towels for the purpose of the dowry. They embroidered belts of homespun or factory linen up to 3 metres long. Subsequently, intricately crocheted laces were added. Then they were adding intricately decorated and crocheted laces. Geometrical and flowery ornaments were the most common patterns the laces. Such a towel was handed down from generation to generation. The ritual towels were always present at family celebrations, religious or annual events. They accompanied human lives at all times . For example, the newborn babies received such towels at baptismal ceremonies. It was also used during marriage and wedding ceremonies as well as an icon decoration. In the end it was put into the coffin. Furthermore, it was used to band the wayside and cemetery crosses.The research materials consist of photographic documentation of towels, embroidery, crochet lace and the information about their origin and manufactures. These materials constitute a regional database of the folk towel in Bielsk Podlaski community. In order to preserve the tradition of towels, Social Development Fund took part in a project to save a ritual towel tradition in Bieslk Podlaski community.

© Jerzy Sołub 2011r.