September 22, 2008

Attack of the Cheap Lederhosen

Munich’s Oktoberfest is already underway, but folk culture purists fear their beloved tradition is under attack by substandard Lederhosen.

Bavarian farmers have worn leather outfit made from pig, goat, or deerskin since time immemorial. These "Lederhosen" were adopted in the 1800s by local aristocrats. (That's the way it always is: Bavarian aristocrats co-opting the cool culture from farmers and American teenagers.)

Der Spiegel reports that Lederhosen-wearers were out in force this weekend in their Bavarian shorts. Ah, but WERE those shorts authentic? Or were they cheap imports from un-Bavarian locales like Poland, India, and… China?
[These] are “yuppie outfits” that have nothing to do with original Bavarian dress, says Otto Dufter, chairman of the Bavarian Federation of Folk Costume Societies. “…we don’t use any pseudo-costumes made abroad.”
Dang, pseudo-costumes are way un-gemütlich. Folk costume society member Hans Lehrer had the quote of the day: “A good Lederhose is like a second skin and it will last you your whole life if you don’t get too fat.”

Now, since Lederhosen have H-shaped suspenders, and “H” is the first letter of “Heim” (the German word for “home”), the path seems clear. Germans honoring the traditions of their homeland should wear domestic Lederhosen.

Oops, price check: Embroidered deer-leather Bavarian Lederhosen cost €600? That’s almost $830!

Chinese Lederhosen
it is, then.

BONUS! In the course of "researching" this, I was offered this authentic German joke.
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
The police. I'm afraid there's been an accident. Your husband is in hospital.

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