Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /websites/123reg/LinuxPackage23/st/or/ie/ on line 9
Stories of Cloth - Aferdita: A Kosovo birth

Jump to: Navigation, page content

Stories of Cloth


Aferdita: A Kosovo birth


A Kosovo birth

I am refugee from Kosovo, where my eldest child died. I now have two young boys. Textiles play a very important part in the role of women in Kosovo. All young teenage girls are taught to sew, embroider and crotchet and are expected to make most of the textiles needed for their marital home. I began to make my dowry when I was a teenager. It included a set of hand-embroidered white linen bedding to be used on my wedding night and at the birth of my children.

I had my first baby in hospital. Before I came home my family dressed my bed with the beautiful linen, ready for my return with my new child. I was expected to rest and recover from my labour for 40 days, bonding with my baby and greeting visitors. When the baby was a week old a religious celebration was held.

The Imam came to our home and whispered the baby’s name into his ear before formally introducing him to all the gathered family. A few days later a party was held with the women in the town. We prepared the best food we could afford and my hand-embroidered and crocheted table cloths were laid out, another part of my dowry. About 110 women attended the celebrations, to welcome the new child into the community and to pray for him.

Most babies are swaddled tightly for the first six months of their lives to make their limbs strong and their back straight. When I came to England my health visitor did not understand this, or the way I wrapped my baby boys in yellow cloth to cure jaundice and red cloth to lower their temperature when sick.

The picture shows the bib that was embroidered for my birth by my auntie in the 1960’s. It is something that I treasure and keep carefully wrapped along with many other embroidered heirlooms. I also enjoy knitting and made a lot of clothes and booties for my children when they were small.

Contact Us