For my second piece chosen in my local museum I chose this Saree which has been exhibited because of black history month. The museum had different “windows of my my world” I chose this one because of its beatiful beading and gorgeous colour. I have always loved Indian weddings and since being a young girl I’ve been fascinated by the culture and rituals Indian weddings display.

 Asian weddings are a colouful extravaganza. The weddings go on for days and a new attire is worn each day. The ceremonies, rituals and formalities are different between each region and culture.

BRIDAL CLOTHING

The bride wears a saree or a lehenga according to the region. The colour of the dresses symbolises the meaning of marriage and the period that follows it.

Traditionally the bride wears red with gold embroidery. Red signifies good luck and auspiciousness.Traditionally the sarees were made of silk  but todays sarees are made of crêpe, georgette tissue and satin. Colors have been expanded to include gold, pink, orange, maroon, brown and yellow.

A wedding is not just a union of two people but the union of two family’s.

Over the years brides continue to dress the best that describes their social status, with the best intricate embroided fabrics that money can buy.

In india one of the oldest traditions since the fourth century is arranged marriages. In ancient times these arranged marriages took place when the bride and groom were adolescent. The boys parents searched for a suitable girl with the help of a middle man and approached the girls parents with a proposition. Then a date and an hour would be suggested according to the couples birth charts.

In those days it was tradition that the wedding would take place in the girls town with her family being the hosts but with time marriages became almost business transactions with material transactions and dowrys. The dignity of women was lost and became a commodity to be exchanged in lieu of social and moral burden on her family. It was part of the tradition that the woman would go and live with the grooms family after marriage.

 The Saree above was worn by sister Shumi on her Mendhi event.Her mendhi event was a night before her wedding day and it’s a very special memory for her. Members of her family and friends witness the aplication of henna and everyone gave their blessings to the bride. Shumi wore a traditional red saree on her wedding day.

 Mehandi is one of the sixteen adorments of the bride and her beauty is incomplete without it. According to the rituals the bride doesn’t step out of the house after her mehandi (see  Briskpost.com Solah Shringar:Hindu Mythology and 16 adornments of an indian bride).

During the ceremony tumeric paste is applied on the brides face, feet  and hands after this the Mehandi begins.

It’s a common belive that the darker the color the mehndi  leaves on the hands of the bride, the more she would be loved by her husband and mother in law.

However there was a more important and significant belief and this part I love. Besides colour to the hands mehndi is a powerful medicinal herb. Because weddings can be so stressful the mehndi is applied to hands and feet (which houses nerve endings) to cool the body down and keep the nerves from becoming tense. Also mehndi is a highly antiseptic agent so it can protect the couple from viral diseases. It improves blood circulation in the body and enhances general health.

The mehndi that is applied in traditional indian weddings have eucalyptus oil a bit of clove oil and a few drops of lemon. These ingredients not only enhance the color but also makes the paste highly medicinal. The best part is the smell, with the rich color and the health benefits the mehndi can work as a powerful aphrodisiac. The color and smell can last for days so it can boost the romance in the initial days of the wedding.

  It was tradition for the bride and guests to wear gold jewellery.

 I love all the different beading and embroidery and patterns on the fabric. I feel that there is so much to this saree not only its adornments but the weight of the history and traditions, it feels like there is a lot of femininity and sensuality.

What is the textile made from? This saree is made of silk and has very detailed hand embroidery with beads and sequins.I can’t be sure because I can’t touch it but I think this saree is lined with taffeta or poliester.It also has a  gold print with little cristals and diamonties.I would imagine that this gives the silk a lovely weight. I loved learning about the Mehndi and all it’s tradicion and look forward to introducing henna in some of my projects.

References 

culturalindia.net, History of indian wedding,Indian parenting.com,India by design,wedding Sari-wikipedia. 

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