The Northeast India is rich in culture and traditions that are kept alive to this day. Also rich is the land of this region. We, at Zizira, a food products company operating from Shillong Meghalaya, can say that with confidence as we are locals and are in touch with our hardworking farmers. You may find out story interesting.
This post is about a traditional Meghalaya dress. With such diverse tribes, languages, costumes and traditions, it was hard for us to narrow down and project any one thing as representing the indigenous culture of the local tribes of Meghalaya.
What could be of interest, apart from the local delicacies, landmarks, and the varied produce of the region? Voila! The idea struck me as I was passing through the streets of Shillong. I noticed, the most common sight among all was - Jain Kyrshah, the traditional Meghalaya dress for women.
What is Jain Kyrshah?
Jain kyrshah is the traditional, yet informal attire for Khasi women of Meghalaya. It’s a gingham patterned garment worn by the women as a top layer – over their clothes. The Jaintia tribe of Meghalaya use the same clothing piece to cover their head during the harvesting season.
The Jaintia maidens dresses like their Khasi counterpart, but with the addition of a 'Kyrshah' - a checkered cloth tied round the head during harvesting.
It is considered a very traditional Meghalaya dress, though just a simple piece of cloth which can be wrapped around with ease and it also acts as a simple apron.
I could recall my childhood days, when I'll be getting ready for a regular outing with my mother, sporting fancy shoes and clothes. Looking at her, I would ask, "are you ready? She would just wrap jain kyrshah around her and reply back, "yes I'm ready". Made me curious to know more on what the current generation thinks about this very tradition! I took the step to ask few members of Chillibreeze, our parent company and here is what they said!
"Jain kyrshah is a traditional Meghalaya dress of the Khasi tribe which is worn every day by the female members. It has a checked pattern. The local khasi women use jain kyrshah as an apron, the difference being it is worn throughout the day. It is considered a conservative and respectable attire. I wear it too on occasions.” said Evonne Syiem, Marketer, Zizira Wearing Jain kyrshah is an ancient practice followed by the women of Meghalaya, as a symbol of modesty and respect for the society. Even at home, women use it to cover themselves from the stains of cooking" said Emelyne Makdoh, Executive - Presentation & Design Services
Zizira is exploring Northeast India's Meghalaya and we bring you accounts of our field trips and experiences. Our vision is to pioneer the development of natural products, proving the underutilized agricultural potential of the region in a way that sparks a movement.
As locals who are proud of our state, we also like to share stories of our culture and traditions. I hope this short post on a traditional Meghalaya dress was interesting. Do let us know your thoughts.
Would you like to read more about other traditional handicrafts or cultural practices of Meghalaya? Visit our store to explore the products we have, made from select, high value, produce of our region, all naturally grown.
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