The beautiful paradise of Southern India- Kerala is nature’s heaven. With a generous green cover and a coastline bordering the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean, it is the place where one can truly rejuvenate. Apart from its scenic landscapes, Kerala is also known for its delicious South Indian cuisines and vibrant culture, which includes its colorful festivals, including the lively Onam celebration.
Onam – the Rice Harvest Fest
The rice harvest season is an occasion to rejoice. The festival pays tribute to the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu. The final day of Onam festivities is also the New Year day of the Malayali community. Stretching for 12 days, with celebrations starting from Atham or the 8th day, reaching a crescendo on the 12th – Kerala’s official state festival is a gala affair, comprising of boat races, traditional tiger dances, martial art shows, flower shows and much more. Traditionally celebrated in and around the state of Kerala and the Malayali communities formed across the globe, Onam is now also celebrated with great zeal and fervor by people belonging to different religions.
Music, dance, theatre, tableaux, and other cultural activities are an integral part of this cultural-focused fest, along with dressing up in regional costumes. Auspicious Kasavu – the traditional gold-lined cream Kerala saree (for women) and dhoti (for men) – is often the followed dress code for the Onam celebrations. Many offices, communities, and institutions, throughout the country, celebrate this day by holding such dress code and theme parties.
The Modish Flavour
Not the ones to be showy in their lifestyle or choices, Keralites or the Malayalis are known to have simple tastes. Thus, Kasavu is usually woven with cotton or cotton-silk yarns and has a white or cream base with a little hint of gold zari. However, with the fusion of cultures and the impact of global fashion trends, these sarees have witnessed a designer renaissance. Be it the younger generation or the style-savvy fashion enthusiasts, women are exploring new ways to dress up for Onam. Keeping up with the change, we’ve compiled some new-age ideas to contemporize your Onam Sarees – while keeping its traditional essence.
1. Add a Touch of Color
A Kasavu saree is essentially white or cream, but you can go off-beat – either by choosing another color for the base and a golden border– or by opting for a soft-toned drape with pastel or colorful border. Hues like soft blush pink or peach will add a delightful touch of color while keeping your look subtle and elegant. You can experiment with fabrics and textures too. Go for a rich Banarasi or Kanjeevaram– or stick to the basics of cotton. But, let us tell you – a splash of color never hurt anyone!
2. Choose Color Blocking
The golden zari border of a traditional Onam saree looks glorious, but a contrasting palette or a captivating color block can work equally well for the occasion! You can either choose a half-and-half saree with a white/cream base and contrasting pallu or go all the way out and innovate with new colors while keeping the golden border essential intact.
3. Fabric Experiments & Blouse Impact
Chiffon or georgette- or maybe even a velvet border, theirs is no boundary when it comes with experimenting with your Indian saree look. Yet, to keep the Onam dress code elements in place, we’d suggest a flattering art silk saree or one crafted in lustrous satin silk.
If you already have an ethnic Onam saree and do not wish to spend on a new one, then you can style it differently with a designer blouse or a crop top! Replacing the traditional white/cream silk blouse with a modern top will instantly break the monotony of your festive look.
4. The Border Effect
The perfect edge! That little border of your saree has the power to uplift your festive look. The ones who love to live by traditions can keep their Onam saree color palette confined to white and cream while playing around with the border. Get an embroidered saree – with lace/ patti making the running border instead of the trademark gold weave. This will not only re-style the whole look, but will also modernize the feel of your ensemble. Even better, you can match the blouse with the lace border for a truly designer edge.
5. Infuse Prints
Your festive saree need not be silk, a luxury handloom fabric, or even staid cotton. For an out-of-the-box celebratory look, get yourself a printed saree in cream/ beige and gold – keep the details subdued, to retain the simplistic Malyali flavor.
6. Sprinkle some Floral Magic
Talking about the prints, what better way to add them than always charming flowers. The cheerful vibes surrounding flowers can magically lift your energy levels and enthusiasm. A few bouquets in multiple hues scattered over your Onam saree is a beautiful way of breaking the monotony of a plain Kasavu. Such floral sarees can be accessorized with colorful ornaments and an embroidered potli bag.
7. Elegance Matters
Whatever you choose to wear for this beautiful Onam day, ensure that the element of elegance is not traded-off. With its subdued hues and softly radiant border, a Kasavu is all about bringing out your inner beauty.
We hope this year’s festival brings a smile on your face, even amidst the global pandemic chaos. We wish you all a happy Onam and a safe celebration!