Agriculture is considered the backbone of India’s culture and economy, and the season of harvesting crops marks an important part of the year for farming communities. Across diverse regions, communities perform unique rituals to mark the beginning of the harvest season and the onset of spring. The celebrations include thanking the bountiful farmlands and is a beautiful time to connect with nature, spend time with your family, and engage meaningfully with your neighbours.
All About the Festivities & What to Wear:
Celebrated pan-India, Makar Sankranti as per Hindu mythology marks the end of evil forces and the beginning of a holy phase. In states like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, and West Bengal, people celebrate harvesting new crops with bonfires and many carnivals are held during that time – most notably, the Kumbh Mela. It is also marked with kite flying and dances.
Pongal and Bihu are similar festivals celebrated in Tamil Nadu and Assam respectively. During Pongal, women wear sarees made from traditional textiles during celebrations, namely Kanchipuram silk – also as Kanjeevaram – and Chettinad cotton. The Kaziranga sarees are a popular choice in Assam. They are made with handwoven cotton silk fabric and feature the one-horned rhino with other flora and fauna.
Sarees like Banarsi silk popular in North India, Paithani from Maharashtra, and Bandhani tie dye prints of Rajasthan and Gujarat are cherished by Indian women. Sarees made of traditional textiles are preferred for occasion wear as they reflect regional pride and culture.
How to Style Traditional Sarees:
Each region has its own mythological lore and communities have different types of ceremonies. However, dressing up in traditional regional garb is a common thread between them. However, it can be difficult to style intricate traditional sarees without going over the top.
While bringing out your heavy gold jewellery and kundan sets is ideal for weddings, and festive occasions like Pongal, Makar Sankranti, and Bihu call for toned-down outfits that look stylish and classy. Keep reading to find out how you can style your beautiful traditional sarees in different ways for the harvest festivals in 2024.
Wear silk sarees with a matching blouse to get the full traditional look. For added warmth, carry a woollen shawl with embroidery to maintain the ethnic look.
Opt for minimal necklace and earring sets, or statement earrings with a single chain to let your sarees take the focus.
For an elegant look that adds shape, accessorise with a kamarbandh to cinch the waist.
Complete your traditional saree look with a bindi and gajra-adorned hair.
Many celebs like Karishma Kapoor, Tapsee Pannu, and Shraddha Kapoor have been spotted recently ditching the blouse for a blazer. You can style a saree with a blazer instead of a regular blouse for a fusion outfit that is sure to turn heads.
You can also replace the blouse with a strappy crop top, oversized shirt, trench coat, or a lightweight denim jacket.
Pick from dazzling chain link chokers, rhinestone earrings, or goth-inspired jewellery for a bold and stylish look.
Opt for embellished sneakers or ankle-length boots for a touch of fusion and added comfort.
Drape a saree around denim jeans or palazzo trousers to create an Indo-Western outfit that will look cool and allow you to move – many women can gracefully dance in sarees but this is applicable if you’re not used to them.
Wear a leather belt with a statement buckle or a corset over the saree for a bold look. These options will also give you an hourglass shape.
You can wear bralettes or lace cardigans instead of the blouse or opt for a skinny pleated pallu for a bold look.
For daytime occasions, put on sunglasses with eclectic frames and funky designs. At night, consider wearing an embellished headband for a chic look.
Things to Note:
If you want to steer away from the nivi draping style, consider the lehenga style for a contemporary look – all you need is an underskirt with volume. The initial draping steps remain the same and the pallu is brought from behind the right side and pinned on the left shoulder.
You can also try out pre-draped sarees to get away from the complicated process of draping one.
Most of these festivals are held at night so remember to wear blouses with more coverage or style it with a sweater.
Remember to keep your footwear comfortable as you will be on your feet for a long time.
Traditional garments for many harvest festivals in India such as Baisakhi, Nuakhai, and Ka Pomblang Nongkrem are different. For example, women commonly wear kurta or sharara sets for Lohri. However, whether you live away from home or want to change things up this year, you can wear sarees to most Indian celebrations.