On the history of the folk costume group of Düdingen
Folk costumes enjoy a great tradition in Düdingen. There are numerous testimonies to this and there exist depictions of Düdingen citizens wearing folk costumes dating as far back the 18th century. Thus traditional costumes were the pride of Düdingen for a long time, which the villagers put on display during parades and other festivals. The great charity parade of 1910 in Freiburg, for instance, at which various organisations from Düdingen appeared in folk costumes will always be remembered. It is hardly surprising then that in the wake of the resurgence of the costume movement in Switzerland and in the canton of Freiburg in the 1920ies and 1930ies, the first folk costume group of the Sense-district was founded. For quite some time, teacher Peter Aeby (1894-1963) from Düdingen had been considering to enrich the various festivities with more gaiety and colourfulness. Following the slogan: „Well begun is half done“, he set to work. Teacher Aeby started out with ten female folk costume juniors in 1934, who formed the first folk costume singing group.It is this group that the present folk costume group gradually emerged from.
At the suggestion of Peter Aeby, the domestic science schools of Düdingen produced the first workday costumes for women in the winter of 1933/1934. They still belonged to the „older“ workday costumes, featuring a blue skirt, a striped apron, and a bodice that’s wide open in the front. These folk costumes were replaced by today’s workday costumes after 1944. In 1938, the renewed Sunday costume also came up inside the group. Nowadays both types of female costumes are worn. And of course, also the long-standing „Kränzli“ costumes and prefect costumes aren’t missing, which evidentially have been continually worn in Düdingen for over 200 years. From the beginning, men wore the renewed traditional male costume. Since 1978, the men of the dance group as well as the flag throwers have been wearing a slightly modified costume.
Especially for bigger events, costume people and the music society of Düdingen—which owns a Sensler costume itself—have presented themselves together. Through this bond, folk dancing as well as the folk band found their way into the group. The folk costume group was very popular with the Düdingen population as they brought colour and glee to the village life. In 1944 there was the first folk costume „Kilbi“. This type of fair persisted throughout years until it was taken over in the 1970ies by the popular entertainment evenings.
Towards the end of the 1960ies, the folk costume group experienced a remarkable boom. The need for a more precise goal, better information, and also a new dance style called for an enhanced organisation. Up until this point, the folk costume group had been managed by Peter Aeby (1934-1962) and Jeanette Merkle (1962-1967). In 1967, a chairperson was elected for the first time. Paul Zbinden from Jetschwil was elected the first president. Furthermore, a leading dance couple was appointed.
The increasingly frequent abroad performances gradually called for a greater variety in their presentation. The folk costume music group expanded from one accordion player to a folk costume band. In 1968, one member introduced flag throwing to the folk costume group. Almost at the same, even the alphorn was blown from within the group’s own ranks. Singing, too, received new attention, first in the form of a yodel duet and since 1978 as part of the folk costume choir.
In addition, a children’s dance group was founded in 1976. As a final expansion, in 1980 the woodwind instrument büchel was added to the group.
In 1982, a disk featuring songs, musical pieces as well as alphorn and büchel tunes was recorded. These are for the most part original compositions by members of the group. The disk was recorded in fond memory of an unforgettable trip to America. In fall 1987, the long-time president offered to cede his post. The dance instructor Brigitte Roggo Brugera was elected as his successor. And after a work-intensive and eventful time in office with many perfomances in-country and abroad, Brigitte Roggo passed on her presidency in the year of 2004 to Marius Jeckelmann after having been in office for seventeen years.
With the above described elements, all of which are still present today, the 80-person folk costume group from Düdingen is able to offer a varied and interesting programme. Thanks to these content-rich performances, the folk costume group Düdingen has contributed several times with great success at events and has attracted attention in Switzerland and abroad (Germany, England, U.S.A., Netherlands, France, Italy, and so on).