Swathed in festive spirit
When you think of Indian festivals, many vibrant words come to the mind. Words like ‘happy celebrations’, ‘grand feasting’, ‘sparkling festivities’ and of course ‘decking up’.
Speaking of ‘decking up’, can you imagine Indian festivals without the sparkle of sarees? Sarees are a colourful showcase of Indian tradition and culture and have been an integral part of our festivals since time immemorial. They bring out the unique flavour and spirit of each festival, be it Diwali, Id, Navaratri or Christmas.
Let us look at how sarees lend a touch of grandeur and cheery vibes to different festivals in the country.
Of course, sweets and lights are a big part of Diwali! But the festival of lights is also about radiant kanjivarams in South India and heavily worked Benarasis in the North. People never miss buying new outfits during this festival. In India, Diwali shopping is often a frenzied family affair, especially so for the women in the family, as they strive to buy the perfect saree that they will always cherish. Apart from traditional silk, trendy silk-cotton, light tussar and dreamy linen sarees are also in vogue these days.
The power of colour
Navratri is a festival that celebrates stree shakti or the power of the woman. This festival is a tribute to Goddess Durga. Each day has a colour associated with it. Red, royal blue, pink, yellow, green, grey, orange, purple and white is worn on different days to celebrate the nine forms of the goddess. So, women bring out their best sarees in these colours to connect with the different forms of Durga and her various powers such as beauty, valour, serenity and grace. In Kolkata, the traditional white-and-red saree is symbolic of the vibrant festival.
Ganesh Chaturti and Gowri habba are traditional festivals associated with rituals and prayers. On these days, women generally like to wear their wedding sarees or the traditional sarees of the region. So, in Maharashtra you see women in the nav vari saree (nine yards), in Karnataka, women wear silk sarees in turmeric yellow or green, while in Andhra Pradesh it is white or cream saree.
Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala, celebrated with colourful floral decorations, cultural and sports events, and the famous sadya (feast). During this festival, women wear the traditional kasavu saree in resplendent white and gold, as it is considered auspicious for the occasion. Nowadays, the kasavu saree is being teamed up with designer blouses in contrasting colours to add a peppy effect to the traditional ensemble.
Pongal is yet another traditional festival, which connects people with nature. On this happy occasion, the women of Tamil Nadu wear colourful sarees and half sarees to offer their gratitude to the sun god. This is the best time to bring out Kanjivarams with traditional motifs and checked Chettinad cotton to be one with the flavour and fervour of the season and region, across four days of celebrations.
Christmas is a festival associated with white, red and green. In India, it is not uncommon to see women wearing chic party-wear sarees in these Christmassy colours. Sarees in chiffon, crepe and satin, embellished with lace and sequins, are just right for the Christmas party in office or celebrations with friends and family.
Eid is the festival of everlasting happiness and feasting. Women in India bring out their best silks and satins for this festival. In the North, Benarasi saree with zari buttas or satin saree with zardosi work are the preferred choice, while in the South women vote for traditional silk sarees with embroidery or gold border.
Sarees and festivals make a potent combination, don’t they?