Almost all countries have their traditional costumes. However, most just use them in special occasions. But there are still some countries where these clothes are used daily, and then I love to try them.
I really appreciate to travel to countries where people preserve their culture. Countries that are not that influenced by the western culture, hereby also western clothes. Here are some of countries I have visited, which still conserve their use of traditional costumes very well.
Saree – India
My absolute favourite dress in the world is the saree. I have two sarees, one I bought in Sri Lanka and the other one in India. The graceful dress is also used in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
Believe it or not, but the saree is actually over 5000 years old, and was first mentioned in the oldest surviving literature of the world. Probably, it is the longest incessantly worn dress in the history. And still today, many women in these countries use this dress on a daily basis.
I just love to use saree as I feel very elegant in it. When I used it in India, going to work, the women told me: “No more jeans. Just saree!”. As they wanted me to use it every day. However, it is very time-consuming to take it on. Furthermore, it is even harder for me that is not used to it. Also I did not want to bother the other ladies for help me to take it on. So I only used it a couple of times. However, I felt very good when I did.
Cholita dress (Pollera) – Bolivia
After my opinion, the Cholita dress is not as graceful as the saree. However, it is as interesting.
Colourful skirts, two long braids in the back, decorated with colourful tread and tassel in each braid. Different hats, depending on where in the country you are from. In Cochabamba the hats are made of plaster, while in La Paz they use black bowler hats. It is also common to use a lot of gold jewellery! All of this is what a Cholita wears on a daily basis.
I really admire that despite the influence of modern fashion in Bolivia, Cholitas have managed to maintain their traditional dress. The fashion they wear today was born when the Spanish forced the indigenous people to adopt the European dress of the era. Despite this oppression, Cholitas adopted a new style, empowering themselves by taking something tarnished and turning it into an outfit unique to them.
For me personally, I did not feel as pretty in this dress as in the saree. I have to admit that. And using this dress I did only once for fun. But I still admire the women that keep their culture and use this wear every day.
Kaba – Nigeria
In Nigeria there is much multifariousness in the cultural clothing of Nigeria. This due to the diversification in the ethnic classes of Nigeria. Although in the urban areas of Nigeria the people often wear western clothes, there are still many people that feel pride in wearing the traditional costumes.
The women of Nigeria wear a clothing that covers their full body including their heads. As mentioned there are many different traditional costumes, but I used the Kaba in the picture bellow. This is a single-piece dress, which can have different styles. However, I do not have the head part.
I found the Nigerian women to be very beautiful in this traditional dress. However, personally I did not feel as beautiful as them. The dress in the picture was given as a gift from the NGO I was working for, when I was leaving.
Shesh – Morocco
This facial coverage called shesh is actually for men. It originates from the belief that it wards off evil spirits. However, it may also be related to the need for protection from the harsh desert sands as well. Furthermore, using the veil is associated with the rite of passage to manhood. In other words, men wears a veil when they reach maturity. The veil usually conceals their face, excluding their eyes and the top of the nose. Still today, it is a firmly established tradition to use the shesh in countries like Morocco.
I felt funny wearing it. A man in a store put it on me.
Bunad – Norway
The traditional wear of my home-country is bunad. The dress is very expensive with a lot of gold and silver accessories. It is made out of pressed wool. The dress is handmade, and my mom made mine. The type of dress varies depending on where in the country you or your ancestors are from.
In Norway we do not use this traditional dress on a daily basis. However, I wanted to include it in this post because back in history it was normal to use this dress as working costume used daily. Most countries have the same story, where traditional costumes have gone from being used daily, to only be used in specific events. I therefore ask if these countries that still so well keep their traditional wears, will do so also in 10-20 years? Will the residents of these countries still use these traditional dresses on a daily basis? I am not sure…
What do you think? How is it related to the traditional dress it in your country?