I have mentioned before that Alsace, positioned in the easily overrun flat valley of the Rhine, has been contended land for centuries past. So, it is not unreasonable that here was a standing army of conscripts, usually for 7 years. Reaching the age of conscription was a rite of passage for all young men who passed muster.
To celebrate this rite of passage, the young men were given aprons decorated with lace infills and red embroidery worked by local young women. Typically, the embroidery would include the initials of the jeune home, the name of his village and the dates of his class. Why an apron, you might ask? Well, aprons have been traditional apparel for men belonging to corporations that they would wear on their parades and that tradition seems to be the source of this.
And I am not saying anything about those decorated head-dresses, except maybe, Carmen Miranda look away lest your face turn green! For a free PDF download of Alsatian Costume, click here.