South Asian Heritage Month runs from the 18th July to the 17th August every year and aims to raise the profile of British South Asian heritage and history in the UK through education, arts, culture and commemoration, helping people to better understand diversity and improve social cohesion across the nation.
Some may see a sari as simply a piece of clothing, but to many around the globe, it is so much more. Saris hold a very special place in my heart and can instantly transport me back to sitting on my grandmother’s lap listening to stories, or being amazed watching my mother get ready for music concerts that we would attend together.
A sari is a typically unstitched garment and is commonly six yards in length but can range from three to nine yards long, they have been a vital statement piece in Asian fashion for over 5,000 years and are still one of the most prevalent garments in fashion to this day!
Saris represent your personal style, so the choice of fabric is key when deciding which style to wear. Other factors to consider are the event you are attending as well as what kind of look you wish to achieve.
Colour also plays a key role as it can represent different moods and portray a certain image. For example, red saris are often worn for special occasions such as weddings, whereas an orange sari represents freshness and is often worn in summer.
Saris can be draped and tucked into many different designs which can also have their own meanings.
Paisley designs can represent fertility and family. Designs depicting elephants are symbolic of wealth and prosperity. Peacock designs have connotations of physical and emotional power and are used to portray strength.
Overall, the cohesiveness of your outfit is dependent on the drape of your sari, which can also depict your nationality as shown below in some of the most popular sari styles in five South Asian countries.
- Atpoure Bengali style Sari
A Atpoure Bengali style sari is a festive and traditional style that is common in Bengali culture. The sari is draped over the shoulder, pleated and pinned to display the sari’s embroidery and then pinned into the back of the petticoat and repeated with the other shoulder, this creates a modest style sari that displays the beautiful embroidery and details on a sari.
- Kandyan Sri Lankan style sari
The Kandyan style sari is perfect for brides and wedding events, as well as parties and festivals and is mostly worn in Sri Lanka. The sari is draped over the shoulder and belted to the waist, wrapped around and pleated, then rolled into the belt and tucked in, the pleats are then moved around the back and puffed out, creating a lovely pleating effect.
- Haku Patasi Nepalese style sari
The Haku Patasi style sari is a black sari with a red border, traditionally worn in villages in Nepal. The sari is generally worn without a petticoat and doesn’t cover your ankles as a typical sari would. It is wrapped around the waist and tied with a patuka (similar to a sash), then wrapped around the chest to your shoulders and tucked in from the back.
- Nauvari Maharashtrian Indian style sari
The Nauvari Maharashtrian is a style of sari that is typically worn by brides. Traditionally, this style of sari is nine yards long and is wrapped around the waist, knotted at one side and tucked in. It is then pleated and wrapped around the waist and over the shoulder. The middle of this is then wrapped and tucked inside and pulled into the waist. The fabric is then pleated and pinned inwards. The remainder of the fabric is then pulled in at the legs and tucked into the back waistline.
- Sari draped over Kurti Pakistani style
A sari draped over a Kurti is typically worn in Pakistan and first begins with the sari being tucked into the petticoat and wrapped around the back, it is then draped over your shoulder. The sari is worn over a kurta, which is worn in place of a traditional blouse.
However you chose to wear your sari is personal to you and your own individual style, a sari is more than just an item of clothing, it is a way of expressing yourself and your culture so wear it with pride! For me, wearing a sari comforts and soothes me whilst connecting me to my heritage and identity.
No matter your price range, style or heritage, a sari is something to be proud of and wear as a celebration of yourself and your background. If you are looking to save some money for a new sari, check out this link.