people are very simple, and this innate simplicity is
reflected in their costumes. The traditional costumes of
Kerala are simple and decent. Women of Kerala are not loaded
with make-up. Mundu and neriathu are the traditional dresses
for both men and women of Kerala. Saree and blouse is
another popular traditional costume for the women of Kerala.
The mundu forms the lower garment, while neriyathu is the
upper garment. The mundu is worn around the hips, below the
navel. This hand-woven cotton cloth is very comfortable
during the summer. It is generally cream or white in colour
with the coloured border or karala.
traditional attire for men is Kasavu Mundu. It is more
popular in the rural areas. It is 3-4 meter long cotton twin
cloth with the silk border. Kaily or lungy is the informal
dress for men. While going outdoors, the men wear shirt and
mundu along with a small neriyathu on the shoulder.
They apply the sandal paste on their brows and chest. It
endows them with a dignified look. The Muslims wear a cap in
addition. The style of the Muslims wearing mundu is quite
different from that of the Hindus and Christian Keralites.
The Christian women fold the mundu in the fan-like multiple
folds and hang at the back. The women wear a special type of
blouse on the top of the mundu. The blouse covers the navel.
The neriyathu is worn over the blouse and its one end is
tucked inside the mundu, and the other long end is worn
across the front torso. It resembles the sari. The mundu and
neriyathu are starched and the blouse that matches the
colour of the border is worn.
Mudu, neriyathu and saree are integral parts of the costumes
of Kerala. On the special occasions and festivals, it has an
ornamental kara with copper, golden coated or artificial
coloured designs of peacock or temple. The colour of the
blouse is associated with age and marital status of the
woman. Unmarried, young girls wear the green blouse while
the red blouse is worn by the married women.
Like everything, the costumes of Kerala are also undergoing
a change. Now-a-days, this traditional costume of
mundum-neriathum is being replaced by the set-sari among
women. The set-sari is similar to mundum-neriyathum, the
only difference being that it is a single piece of cloth.
Today this set-sari is worn on the occasions like Kerala Day
or Onam. With the changing trends in fashion, the dress code
has remarkably changed. The Keralite men are seen in the
modern T-shirts, and trousers or jeans. The women also
prefer to wear the churidar kurta as well as jeans-top.
These traditional and elegant costumes are slowly yielding
space to modern trends. Kerala is becoming more trendy, but
at the same time, losing some of its class.