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Costumes Of Kerala For Women

Mundu Neriyathu is one of the most significant traditional costumes of Hindu women in Kerala. The Mundu is the lower part of the costume that is tied around the waist, just beneath one’s navel. This stretches down till the feet. This is usually made of cotton and is extremely easy and simple to wear during the summer season. The Christian women, on the other hand, wear the Mundu slightly differently. They wear a garment that is pleated and folded like a fan at the back. Irrespective of the religion, the Mundu is always white, off white or cream shades only. The Hindu women sometimes wear Mundu that have a colored border known as Kara. Christian and Hindu women wear a blouse on the top over the Mundu.

The Neriyathu is worn almost similar to a sari. It is a small piece of cloth that is worn over the blouse. One end of this cloth is tucked inside the Mundu at the hips and the other end is worn over one’s body. The cloth stretches from the right side of the hips to the left shoulder and resembles the sari. The Mundu and Neriyathu is always crisp and white and women match their blouse colors with the colored strip’s or Kara’s shade. The border of the Mundu is either decorated with a temple, peacock, copper shades or other artificial colors. Green blouses are worn by young unmarried women, whereas red blouses are worn by the married women. Hence, by just looking at the blouse color, one can judge the marital status of a woman. Women also love to wear Kanchipuram silk saris on important occasions.

Women, irrespective of their age, get together to perform the Kaikotti Kali dance (one of the most famous folk dances of Kerala) during celebrating the important festival of Onam. They wear these silk saris or Mundu Neriyathu on these occasions and adorn themselves with simple yet exquisite jewelry. Onam, being the day when festivities take on a different level in Kerala, is the day when women come out decked out in their new traditional saris.

Women following Islam usually wear a long garment in deep blue or black color and then wear Purdah over it. They usually have long and thick hair, which they cover using a kerchief that has some beautiful designs on it. The Mundu Neriyathu has today lost its sheen and is mostly worn only by the old-aged women in Kerala. The young women wear the Set Sari as an alternative to the Mundu Neriyathu. The Set Sari, also known as the Kerala sari, is a single-piece costume. Today, we can find many young women in Kerala wearing the normal sari and blouse.



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