The traditional costume of the women
Despite the rapid growth of the last years the inhabitants of the plain never forget their customs. The traditional costume is considered to be a hangover of the military regimentals. Its basic element is the “katsouli”, an unusual headband that is made of three kerchiefs and reminds of an ancient helmet. The women of Roumlouki claim that it was given to them by Alexander the Great. According to tradition the enemy that tried to invade was once forced to retreat by the women of the plain. When Alexander came back from his expedition and was informed of this war exploit he commanded the men to give their helmets to the women. As a result, this headband is one of the main characteristics of the region.
The traditional women’s costume of Roumlouki has saved some elements of the Hellenic, the Roman and the Byzantine era.
According to historical facts that were mentioned before, Kampania has always been a place inhabited by martial families from Thessaloniki and Veria. As a result, the local costumes were strongly influenced by regimentals. The Byzantine soldiers wore the sagion (kind of cape), a piece of clothing where the sagias of Roumlouki has its origins. The Roman sagum and sagus means a tunic of wool, whilst the soldiers’ small arms were a sword, a dagger, a quiver, a bow and a lance. Furthermore, accessories of the women’s local costume were also silver knives that replaced the swords of the ancient and the Byzantine era. The crest of the helmet, the flag of the lance and the greatcoats of the Byzantine soldiers were of different colors that depended on the regiment they served in. The word flammulum means the military flags which had the shape of a flame. People from Roumlouki used to have three standards when they celebrated their weddings.
An essential element of the military equipment were the breastplates with metal strips on them where the spangled belt of the local costume comes from.
The getting up of the brides was a special procedure in Roumlouki. The use of jewelers with chains and golden coins as well as the garments made of wire yarn (trachilia) remind of the medieval regimentals.
The helmets of the auxiliary troops were simpler than those of the regular soldiers. But the most impressive ones were those of the cavalry officers that were bedecked with crests or tufts. The women’s headbands in Roumlouki follow a similar grading. Young girls wear simple kerchiefs, the brides wear tufts and the married women wear the most impressive headband, the katsouli. Angeliki Chatzimichali claims that the shape of the headband after it is bedecked with the bridal tufts reminds of the hair-dressings in ancient Rome where they used to give them the shape of a helmet by using hair extensions and silk threads.
Each rank of the military had its own equipment and part of it were also the belts, which meant rank in a metaphorical sense. As a result, belts were very important in the Byzantine clothing and the traditional costume of Roumlouki has its own spangled belt.
The broumanika have their origins in the Byzantine epimanikia (piece of clothing attached to the sleeves) which were particularly trimmed in men’s as well as in women’s costumes.
The earrings of the first Christians gave their place to the prependoulia that were hanging from the crowns as far as the emperors are concerned and from the fakeolidia (square, preened pieces of clothing that covered the head) as far as the courtiers and the dignitaries are concerned. A hangover from these jewels of the aristocrats is also obvious in the local costume; it is called doulia and it is tagged on the headband.