The God’s Own Country
Seashores lined with palms and coconut trees, lush green grass lining the roads, greeting the passer by, luxurious houseboats and of course the elegant sumptuous, traditional food served on banana leaf with love defines this beautiful place. A hearty welcome to Kerala!!!
If I start on the heritage then I will write endlessly so let me get to the point. People say sari is the traditional dress of women in Kerala but I choose to differ. Saris came centuries much later and it is worn in almost every state so why single out Kerala? Our women were bold with their dressing choices. If you don’t believe me then continue reading, you will know why!!
‘Mundu and Neriyathu’ were the traditional dresses of both women and men. The only difference was in the way they wore them. Women wore mundu to cover their lower body and neriyathum the upper one. Men were topless and wore mundu or what we call lungi to cover their lower body and till today men wear like that when they are at home.
See the above painting by famed artist Raja Ravi Verma. It clearly shows the traditional fashion in Kerala!!
Isn’t this sexy!! I always use this as my weapon against my father whenever he said about my wearing of shorts or ripped jeans.
Religion and societal rules influenced the dressing style just like in any other state. Believe it not, lower caste women never covered their upper bodies or in simple words they were topless because rules of society prohibited them!!! Mind you, men had no problem!!!
If this is not bold, then what is???
The high caste women covered their upper bodies only when they stepped outside their homes!!!
When Islam and Christianity were born in the land, the dressing styles changed. Muslim women wore purdah and Christian women wore ‘chatta and mundu’ (see the picture). My paternal grand mom used to wear this till the day she died.
High caste or the Brahmin men wore mundu and draped Neriyathu across their shoulders and their mundus had golden border which was the symbol of their superior caste.
British rule brought industrialization with them and the dressing style changed. Blouses became fashionable and women started wearing them but lower caste women held fast to the ancient traditions till a good part of twentieth century. Twentieth century was the beginning of many changes. Societal rules started changing and with that the dressing styles changed.
In 21st century, the scenario has changed drastically. Jeans are in and traditional out if not completely. Who wears traditional these days?? Men wear mundu or lungi and women wear those beautiful golden-bordered saris (a specialty of Kerala) only on special occasions.
I own one and I love it!!!
So this was about the traditional fashion in Kerala. And if you guys like it then please hit the share button and invite your friends to read it!!!
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