Saturday, May 25, 2024

Kerala Costumes

The Keralite’s preference for simple living is reflected in the attire of the region.  That the Keralite has an affinity for purity is seen in the elegent traditional attire of white and off-white, a favourite with men as well as women
The mundu, a piece of fabric worn around the waist and flowing down to the feet, is the conventional attair of most men folk.  Mundu neriyathu is the traditional two piece costume of the Hindu women.  The traditional dress of Christian women is chatta (blouse) and mundu.  The latter is worn with a fan-like fold at the back.  Muslim women, especially in central and north Kerala, wear a long dark blue or black garment with the purdah
Every day clothes for all Keralites are saris and churidar/salwar-kameez for women and shirts and trousers for men.  The Western style of dressing is also quite popular with the younger generation
The word costume refers to the dress patterns of the people of a particular community.  We know that there are different costumes.  In different countries and nations.  It is the costume of a community, which differentiates its people from others.  The customize of the people around the world are wide and varied.  India alone has innumerable varieties of customize
People of the south of India are easily recognizable from those in north.  The people in the east and west of India have equally varied ways of dressing.  However the four states in south of India namely Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have a common way of dressing
The people of Kerala are simple.  They are very moderately dressed.  They can be seen wearing tight jeans and top with all make up and different color on their hair.  They give importance in ‘being decently dressed’.  To narrow down and discuss about the costumes of Kerala let us took at its history and culture.  The main dress worn by the people of Kerala are mainly traditional in nature.  The costumes are guided by the geographical conditions of the region.  The traditional dress forms are the ‘mundu-neryathum’ is the extant form of the ancient saree.  Women can also be seen wearing sari and blouse.  The word ‘sari’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘sati’, which means strip of cloth.  In the ‘mundum neriyathum’, the traditional piece is the ‘mundu’ which forms the lower garment it consist of two pieces of cloth.  The ‘mundu’ is worn below the navel and around the hips.  It is a hand woven cotton cloth, which is very comfortable during the summer. It is white or cream in color with a colored strip known as border or “ kara’ on going out, men wear ‘shirt and mundu, with a small ‘neriyathu’ on their shoulder and smear sandal paste on their chests and brows.  This fives them a dignified and royal look.  In wear the ‘mundu’ in a different style form that of Hindus and Christians

Women also wear mundu in the same style if that of  men except for the Christian women, the ‘mundu’ is folded in fan-like multiple folds and this portion is hung at the nack.  On the top of the ‘mundu’ women wear a special kind of blouse, which covers the navel.  The ‘neriyathu’.  Is the upper garment worn over the blouse with its one end tucked inside the mundu and the remaining long end worn across the front torso.  It is worn diagonally from along the right hips to the left shoulder resembling the saree.  Both the ‘mundu’ and ‘neriyathu’ is starched before being draped and is worn with the blouse that mmatches the color of the border or ‘kara’.  It was worn as an everyday costume and on festive occasions people used to wear it with an ornamental ‘kara’ or border which is either golden, copper coated or artificial colored with peacock or temple design.  The color of the blouse is determined by the age and marital status of the women.  Young unmarried girls wear green blouse while married women wear red blouse.  During the Keralite festival of Onam, women of all ages wear it and take part in the folk dance called ‘Kaikottikali’
The ‘mundum neriyathum’ was the traditional costume of Kerala. Now it is becoming an old fashion and is worn by old women of Kerala.  Today it is replaced by the ‘set-sari’ is worn by Keralite women as a quasi ‘mundum neriyathum’ and now as the ‘kerala saree
With the changing trends in fashion and designing, the dress codes to have changed.  The traditional styles is disappearing among the people.  Today men and women are clad in 3 variety of dresses.  The people have now taken to the northern style of dressing.  Men have taken to tea-shirts and trousers imitating western fashion.  Which is more comfortable and suited for traveling.  Women of all communities wear the north Indian style churidhar.  At home, both men and women wear revert to the traditional styles to copy with the hot climate and humidity
Now a days tradition has lost its value and his considered by the modern generation as an old fashion people now are in search of ‘the new’ and change according to the recent trends as seen in cinemas and movies.  Of course you have to change but never forget ones tradition and consider it a shame.  Where ever you go, you have to uphold your tradition and consider it as a pride, which makes you a unique person, than considering it a shame