The Bunad

Student Collector

Devan ReischeFollow

Date Collected

Winter 12-11-2017

Place item was collected

Meridian, California

Point of Discovery/Informant Bio

Karla Childers is my aunt. She is the middle child in a family of 3 children, she was adopted into the family after my grandmother did not think she could have more children after having my father. She spent part of her years growing up in Sacramento, before moving to our family’s farm in Meridian, California. Our family has owned property on that same stretch of land since the late 1800s. My aunt Karla was very close with great grandma Nora who passed on Norwegian stories and traditions to my aunt Karla. Karla and her family still reside on our family farm in Meridian, California.


Karla told me this at her kitchen table in a discussion that included many stories from our Norwegian heritage. This specific story is not one that I had knowledge of, I think this is due to the ‘stored history,’ as Karla says. Bunad’s are considered folk attire that was developed in certain regions of Norway, they are worn for festive and religious celebrations. The bunad that is worn by my aunt at Norwegian Tea is beautifully ornate with many colors and was handmade in Norway.


The bunad came from my grandma. She gave it to me. The bunad has sort of a sorted history, so here’s the thing. If you look at that picture, that bunad was, that was Anna’s bunad, grandma’s bunad, you can take a picture of that picture, grandma had a less elaborate bunad. She didn’t have one that was from Norway. I mean look at that you can’t make those here okay you order and. Hers was just the black front with the white under it. The bunad that I use wasn’t Nora’s bunad it was Anna’s bunad. Anna was very large and as she got older she got larger and larger. And grandma didn’t, they were all so chesty, grandma didn’t get as large so when Anna had to change out into anther bunad grandma got this one. So there has been a little bit of a thing about the bunad because the bunad was originally Anna’s. Now it was given to grandma by anna before grandma died and then it was given to me before grandma died. So I’m like maybe one day, I might you know, but someone was like that one’s Anna’s bunad. And I was like well we didn’t go into the house and steal it. So originally it was Anna’s, it was here older sisters. So I did I talked to Shelley about that because one of the relatives was like well how does she have that bunad it’s right there in the picture. And I said Shelley someday that is going to make it back to your family but it may not be for a few generations. It’s going to go to whoever takes this over. I am not going to go here take it my grandma gave it to me. It’s like well sorry. It’s kind of funny. You guys were little when I started it and then here came along, I had Mel. I think it was three years before we knew Mel was going to be here. So that was kind of cool. So be careful about the Bunad it’s got some sorted history to it. Someone thinks that Nora went in and took it out. She didn’t no, I’m kidding, she didn’t take it it was given to her. So I asked Shelley and Shelley I was like should I give it back. And Shelley was like [makes hand motions like shoving it into a box or ruining it]. She’s like no, they’re just going to put it in a drawer and never do anything with it.


Karla told this story in a sort of hushed tone, but I think that was more for effect than anything. She also had a humorous attitude about the whole situation. The attitude being, just like all families we have drama in our family too. She also mentioned later that she is excited to see where the bunad ends up and who in our family decides to carry on the tradition of Norwegian Tea.


ENGL 2210


Lynne McNeill

Semester and year

Fall 2017


G8: Textiles

EAD Number