Bihar, known as the land of the Holy Buddha, has always had a fascinating history and a rich culture of tradition and values. Be it the legendary King Ashoka of the ancient times or Aryabhata of the modern age, the contributions made by the land of the Bihar towards the development of the world is undeniable.
Apart from the unforgettable history and heritage of the land, Bihar is also known for its deep roots of traditions and culture in its dwellers. Known to be hardworking and pure at heart, the people of Bihar have a special place for their traditional values and culture including the delicious food, festivals, and dresses.
The festivity and ethnicity of the land can be seen in the traditional clothing and accessories which carry a significant meaning and sacred values.
Traditional Clothing of Bihar
When we talk about the traditional clothing of Bihar, it is not possible to go on without mentioning ‘sarees’ and ‘gumccha’. Sarees have been in existence ever since the evolution of the Indus valley civilization.
Several mentions of this unstitched long piece of cloth have been found in early Buddhist, Jain and Sanskrit scriptures as ‘swastika’ which later on came to be known as ‘sari’.
Several ancient runes and statues depict saree as the attire for royal as well as common women. Similarly, the statues and paintings of Kings and rulers from the North Indian subcontinent are often seen in kurtas and dhotis, accompanied by a turban.
Dhoti later came into the limelight of the world’s attention due to the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi. He himself often wore dhoti made from yarn he spun himself and encouraged people to do the same.
What makes traditional clothing of Bihar different from the rest of the Indian states?
It is true that sarees or kurtas are worn popularly in many more Indian states but what makes Bihar traditional dress different from others are the following unique points:
Muretha or Gumccha
No dhoti-kurta is complete in Bihar until it is paired with a muretha or a gumccha! In simple words, muretha is a headgear which looks similar to turban but is different due to the way of wearing it and its purpose.
On the other hand, if the man is not wearing a muretha then there has to be a piece of unstitched rectangular clothe hanging around his neck. This piece of cloth is known as ‘gumccha’. In different parts of Bihar, gumccha is worn in a different way.
Although in modern times, sarees in Bihar are worn along with a blouse such was not existent in the early times. Women used to wear saree in its true form, that is, only a single piece of cloth draped around the body leaving only a few body parts such as the face, feet and waist exposed. Women often kept the ‘pallu’ of the saree above their heads as a sign of respect and grace.
Other than wearing saree without a blouse or any other additional piece of clothing. In Bihar, traditional saree is always worn with a ‘seedha pallu’. A ‘seedha pallu’ is a way of wearing the part of the saree remaining after the drape from face-front towards the back. There are different ways of taking the pallu in different states of India.
Dhoti or pajama
In Bihar traditional dress, pajama and kurta are often worn by younger men and boys and Dhoti-kurta is worn by the elder men. Although there is no rule for wearing dhotis, it is believed that wearing a dhoti is more sacred and formal.
As discussed, above were the few points that differentiate the traditional clothing of Bihar from other Indian states. The meaning behind each of the attire represents the rich culture of the land.