Exploring Indian Culture: Clothing - Radical

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Exploring Indian Culture: Clothing

As we prepare for Secret Church 16: A Global Gospel in a World of Religions, we want to learn about India, our prayer focus for this year. This week’s blog posts will showcase parts of Indian clothing and culture that make the country unique. Learn with us as we glimpse a small portion of India’s incredible culture.

Like most things about India, clothing varies all over the country. In many urban areas, men and women can be seen in a variety of fashions from traditional clothing to Western-style apparel (pants, blouses, jeans). People in more rural areas tend to stick closer to traditional clothing but can also be seen in various styles.

Traditional Indian clothing is part of what makes India unique and beautiful. To help you visualize India better, here is an overview of what Indian clothing is like.

Clothing for men:

Most men wear Western-style pants with cotton shirts. If men work in jobs that require it, they wear tailored suits. Although men’s typical clothing today is less ornate than women’s, their traditional outfits are just as detailed.

Traditional clothes for men include the dhoti. The dhoti is a piece of cloth that wraps around the legs and ties at the waist. This garment can also be called laacha (Punjabi) or dhuti (Bangla). Dhotis are usually white and worn for special religious ceremonies.

Some men might also wear what is called a kurt and chudidaar. This outfit consists of cotton or silk pants that are gathered at the ankles and a long tunic. Men’s fashion also varies among religions. For example, Sikh men wear brightly colored turbans and Muslim men often wear small round hats and white robes.

Clothing for women:

Women’s clothing comes in an array of colors and styles. Two main styles make up the basis for most women’s clothing, although women also can be seen in Western styles.

The sari is probably the most iconic Indian women’s clothing. A sari is one long piece of cloth that is wrapped around the waist to form a skirt and then draped over the shoulder. Saris are usually made of cotton or silk and can be simply designed or covered with embellishments. Sari styles vary all over the country, with many ways to wear them and many patterns and colors.

The other most common outfit for Indian women is called the salwar khameez (pictured above), which is a long tunic (khameez) with pants (salwar). The pants can be loose and baggy or fitted, often depending on the area or the woman’s preference. This clothing style originated in the north but can now be found all over India. Like saris, the salwar khameez comes in an endless variety of colors and patterns and can be simple for everyday wear or richly embellished for special occasions. Women also pair the salwar khameez with a long scarf, often called a dupata, that is draped over the shoulder and neckline.

As we prepare for Secret Church 16, we hope you enjoy getting to know more about India. While we share about fun things involving culture, we hope you will become more familiar with the place we will focus on in prayer. Join us as we pray for India, for the persecuted church there, and for the billions of people who still do not know Christ as Lord

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