Traditional wedding dresses from around the world (& India)
Growing up I never quite liked reality TV, the only “reality TV” I did watch happily was Ftv- Fashion TV and of course NDTV’s Band Baaja Bride and god did I get obsessed with it. That show opened my eyes to a completely new avenue of fashion. Indian Fashion. Indian wedding fashion to be precise. Which is funny because I never took a particular interest in weddings, I thought they were boring and overrated not to mention outdated .Still believe this. But wedding clothes on the other hand? The only thing that, in my eyes, that revived this age old tradition and frankly deserves the money that people throw at weddings. But alas I digress, although shows like BBB and Say yes to the dress! have my heart it does sadden me to think that they tend to only portray the same white gowns and red lehenga. There are innumerable ways people celebrate their big day and today I’m going to put forward a few wedding dress styles that you may have not heard of.
1.) India – We’re going to start off with mine and I think majority of the reader’s, motherland first of course. Now I’m just going to take a moment to point out that these places are vast with multiple cultures and traditions so this style is not worn by everybody but it is one of the most famous styles.
a) Kerala – Set Mundu/ Mundum Neriyathum – The famous white/cream sari with a gold border. It’s a two piece set where the Mundu becomes the bottom half and Neriyathu is worn with a blouse like a pallu. Kerala in the past has associated itself to the Buddhist and Roman cultures where white and gold colours symbolize purity, truthfulness and in general a higher status, thus these notions were adapted into the Malayalee culture.
Mundum Neriyathum is one of the oldest ways of draping a sari although in the earlier era the neriyathum was tucked into the blouse instead of going over the shoulder. Known as the Namboothiri style of draping.
b) Kashmir – In Kashmir brides usually wear a Pheran for their nikkah which also happens to be the traditional outfit for both men and women. Kashmiri weddings are a lavish affair with intricate rituals that last for days. I would love to get into it but it would take up my entire article so I’ll just put a picture up for reference instead.
c) Assam – The Mekhela Chador comprises two pieces the mekhela which forms the bottom half and the chador which makes the upper half along with the pallu. Instead of a long piece of fabric the mekhela is sort of an oversized skirt where the excess fabric is used to make pleats. The uniqueness of the outfit comes from the Chador which is used to make a triangle pleat that dangles in front of the mekhela. Complicated, I know.
d) Manipur – Potloi is the traditional Manipuri wedding garb. Potloi consists of a cylindrical skirt heavily embroidered like a ghagra, a blouse, a woven belt and an Innaphi (shawl). The potloi was introduced in the 1700’s during the reign of Maharaja Bhagya Chandra by the women who took part in the Ras lila dance. This style quickly gained popularity by the women who were enamored the unique look and style of the skirt. Over the years people started adding embellishments and gold mirrors, leading to the modern potloi we see today.
Alright let’s make this article international shall we?
2) Bhutan – Kira and Gho are the traditional Bhutanese wear, Gho is worn by the men and Kira is worn by women. Kira is a long hand woven cloth that is wrapped around and pinned on both shoulders. The Kira is not worn alone, it is worn along with a Wonju (long sleeved blouse) that goes under the kira, the Kira is worn on top and pinned using silver or gold pins called as Koma, then a hand woven belt is secured around the waist and a Tego (short jacket) is worn on top. Finally a Rachu (a silk scarf) is put on the left shoulder. This is also the national dress of Bhutan and was designed more than 400 years ago by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal the Rinpoche and “Father of Bhutan”.
3) Zulu People – Brides belonging to the Zulu group wear colourful skirts and beaded necklaces on their wedding day. The skirt known as Isidwaba is made from cowhide or goatskin. The Isicwaya is used to cover the chest and a hat called Isicholo on the head (where else do you put a hat) apart from this they accessorize heavily with beaded necklaces and oxtail fringes are tied around her hands and knees. Fun fact the bride carries a small knife to symbolize her virginity.
4) People of Ashanti – Dresses are made using the Kente cloth which is a colourful hand woven fabric. The fabric contains colourful stripes and each colour is said to symbolize something for example blue is said symbolize harmony. Did you know? the kente fabric was displayed in the Marvel movie Black Panther.
5) North Korea – Hanboks are worn by the bride in North Korea these are the national dresses of Korea. While many people in South Korea choose the Christian style wedding where the brides throws the bouquet in the end, in NK the couple pay their respects by bringing flowers to statue of their supreme leader. Another interesting aspect? Live hens and roosters are brought for the wedding; they are believed to bring good luck. Interestingly, couples don’t go for honeymoons the next day in NK. They directly report for work the following morning.
6) Japan – Japanese brides wear kimonos for their big day. There are several wedding kimonos in Japan the most prominent ones being the Shiromuku, Hikifurisode and the Uchikake styles. The Shiromuku is traditionally all white and worn with a large white hat known as the Wataboshi. The Hikifurisode was worn by the brides of wealthy samurai families and is one of the most common styles worn today by modern brides. The uchikake is long robe worn over a kimono but whereas in the Shiromuku style the robe is plain white here the robe is extremely vibrant and colourful.
Hikifurisode (top) is usually black and Uchikake (bottom)
Which one is your favourite?