people are very simple, and this innate simplicity is reflected in their
costumes. The traditional costumes of Kerala are simple and decent. Women
of Kerala are not loaded with make-up. Mundu and neriathu are the traditional
dresses for both men and women of Kerala. Saree and blouse is another
popular traditional costume for the women of Kerala. The mundu forms the
lower garment, while neriyathu is the upper garment. The mundu is worn
around the hips, below the navel. This hand-woven cotton cloth is very
comfortable during the summer. It is generally cream or white in colour
with the coloured border or kara.
The traditional attire
for men is Kasavu Mundu. It is more popular in the rural areas. It is
3-4 meter long cotton twin cloth with the silk border. Kaily or lungy
is the informal dress for men. While going outdoors, the men wear shirt
and mundu along with a small neriyathu on the shoulder.
They apply the sandal
paste on their brows and chest. It endows them with a dignified look.
The Muslims wear a cap in addition. The style of the Muslims wearing mundu
is quite different from that of the Hindus and Christian Keralites.
The Christian women
fold the mundu in the fan-like multiple folds and hang at the back. The
women wear a special type of blouse on the top of the mundu. The blouse
covers the navel. The neriyathu is worn over the blouse and its one end
is tucked inside the mundu, and the other long end is worn across the
front torso. It resembles the sari. The mundu and neriyathu are starched
and the blouse that matches the colour of the border is worn.
neriyathu and saree are integral parts of the costumes of Kerala. On the
special occasions and festivals, it has an ornamental kara with copper,
golden coated or artificial coloured designs of peacock or temple. The
colour of the blouse is associated with age and marital status of the
woman. Unmarried, young girls wear the green blouse while the red blouse
is worn by the married women.
Like everything, the
costumes of Kerala are also undergoing a change. Now-a-days, this traditional
costume of mundum-neriathum is being replaced by the set-sari among women.
The set-sari is similar to mundum-neriyathum, the only difference being
that it is a single piece of cloth. Today this set-sari is worn on the
occasions like Kerala Day or Onam. With the changing trends in fashion,
the dress code has remarkably changed. The Keralite men are seen in the
modern T-shirts, and trousers or jeans. The women also prefer to wear
the churidar kurta as well as jeans-top. These traditional and elegant
costumes are slowly yielding space to modern trends. Kerala is becoming
more trendy, but at the same time, losing some of its class.
Kerala in Details