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Kerala is one of the cultural and the heritage states of India. Kerala is the state of high literacy,development, lush green lands with beautiful surroundings, golden beaches, gurgling seashore and awesome backwaters. The culture of Kerala is the fusion of Aryan and Dravidian influences, which was further expanded by contact with the neighboring regions and overseas cultures. Most of the civilians of Kerala are Hindus, but also there are communities of Muslims and Christians. The official language of Kerala is Malyalam however many of the communities speak English as well.
The people of Kerala are very simple and traditional that is reflected with their wearings. Generally both men and women are dressed in off-white and white apparels. The traditional costumes of Kerala are mundu and neriyathu, for both men and women.
Costumes of Women in Kerala:
Mundu – neriyathu is the two piece costume worn by Hindu women. Mundu is a white or off-white piece of cloth with golden jerried border called ‘kara’, that indicates the royalty. Mundu is an outfit which is worn around the waist and flowing down to the feet. As mundu is hand-woven cotton fabric so it is quite comfortable to wear in summer season. Neriyathu is an upper attire which is put over the blouse with one of its ends inserted in the mundu and the other long end worn over the front torso. This is dressed up in a diagonal way, from the right hips to the left shoulder just like a saree.
The traditional dress of Christian women in Kerala is chatta (blouse) and mundu. They wear mundu with a fan like fold at their back. And muslim women primarily in central and north Kerala wear a long dark blue or black outfit. They also cover up their abundant long hair with beautiful kerchief or scarf.
Now a days Mundu – neriyathu has been treated as an old-fashioned costume and is only worn by the old age women. Instead of these Keralite women wear set-saree, which also called Kerala Saree. So saree-blouse is the mostly worn attire of Keralite women now a days.
Costumes of Men in Kerala:
Men in Kerala are more traditional and conservative than that of women. Their traditional outfit is Mundu. Mundu is a long white piece of cloth, tucked around the waist and reaches to the ankle.
Many of Keralite men do not wear any apparel above the waist, but the men who belong to higher castes, drape a towel like piece of cloth on their shoulders. And some modern men also wear shirts, that alike mundu are always feather white. This costume is worn by the men of all religions and all classes, but some who are influenced by western culture, wear viking zip up los angeles dodgers hoodie and cotton trousers.
The Keralite muslim men wear the same costume but their style of wearing mundu is somewhat different as that of Christian and Hindu Muslim Keralite men. Also Keralite Muslims wear an additional cap (round cap) over their head.
Day to Day Wearings of Keralites:
In their daily life all the women of Kerala wear sarees and chooridar or salwar – kameez, while Keralites men wear trousers and shirts. The dressing style of Keralites is gradually changing.
They now wear traditional dresses only on some special occasions. The people of Kerala have followed the Northern Indian styles of wearing as men wear trousers, jeans, t-shirts and women wear chooridar.
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write by Keisha