What’s the Deal with Lederhosen?

Lederhosen 2This is pretty much how I so eloquently phrased my question to my host, Johannes Faust, as we were walking through a festival in Miltenberg Germany, where Brauhaus Faust has been brewing for almost a century and a half under the supervision of 4 Generations of Fausts.

He was sporting a nice pair of lederhosen – as were many attendees of the festival. Since I had not spent that much time in Germany at that point, I wasn’t sure if he was decked out like this because it was a festival day and their brewery was the focus of the beer tent and he had been part of the parade that kicked off the fest, or if this was something that was actually worn more often.

As it turned out, he told me that he and his friends also wore their lederhosen for casual beer drinking and everyday get-togethers as well! Later on that same trip, we saw a number of men dressed in lederhosen in the biergartens of Bavaria. They are certainly more popular in certain regions, most notably Bavaria, as well some areas of Austria and rarely seen in other locales.

Lederhosen translates to “leather pants” and is the term for the short version of these leather breeches, while the longer ones are referred to as Bundhosen or Kniebundhosen.They were originally designed as work clothes for peasants, hence the strong leather instead of a less durable fabric. Since they are so long lasting, in some cases, they have been passed from generation to generation. Both the lederhosen and the women’s traditional dress (to be discussed in a future article)are referred to as tracht or trachten.(plural) meaning traditional garments.

Back in the day, the aristocracy thought it was amusing to dress up like peasants, hence a fancier version of lederhosen, in a softer deerskin came about and is what is most commonly used today. These “fancy pants” do not come cheap, by the way. The bargain versions start around 100 Euros and can go up to thousands for a designer-like embroidered version.

With Oktoberfest coming up soon, if you want to be properly suited, you might want to get on track with your tracht.