What is a sari? Who wears them and when? Learning about clothing from around the world teaches children to be respectful of differences, and understand cultural traditions they may see around themselves. Let’s learn about saris with a book, some photos, and video (for elementary schools, and another for middle/high schools)!
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A “sari” (sometimes spelled saree) is one of the most common outfits used by the women of India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. To begin, there is a great little story about a little girl that introduces the importance of a sari for a little girl, then we have an interview and explanation of a sari, and finally a couple of videos.
My Dadima Wears a Sari by Kashmira Sheth is another beautiful book about two sweet young girls and their grandma. There are not many stories that have Indian characters for this age level (early elementary), and I believe schools and libraries need to be cognizant of representing a variety of experiences for kids. In this story, when Rupa asks if her grandma (Dadima) misses wearing skirts or blouses or pants, her grandma replies, “I never thought about it” because there are so many uses for a sari. She demonstrates that a sari can be a fan, a pocket, an umbrella, and much more.
What is a sari?
Interview with Betsy Neicheril
An unstitched rectangle piece of sheer elegance is how you define a sari. A sari has been considered one of Indian oldest forms of art. A charming folktale explains the origin of the sari as follows:
“The Sari, it is said, was born on the loom of a fanciful weaver. He dreamt of Woman. The shimmer of her tears. The drape of her tumbling hair. The colors of her many moods. The softness of her touch. All these he wove together. He couldn’t stop. He wove for many yards. And when he was done, the story goes, he sat back and smiled and smiled and smiled.”
A sari consists of is 6 yards of fabric which when draped in a particular manner gives rise to an attire that is complete in every aspect. Sari draping is considered as an art and requires a lot of practice. The experienced person takes about 5 – 10 minutes to drape whereas a first timer can take a lifetime. A sari is such an outfit that adds to the style, attitude and confidence of the wearer. The sari is worn in different styles in various parts of India.
How about the colors, fabrics and textures?
A sari is an outfit which evokes much fascination and awe. It should come as no surprise to you that there is diversity even in the way sarees are worn in India. From Shimmering Silks and Elegant Chiffon to Flowing Crepes and Georgette, sarees are available in vivid colors and embellished with the most intricate embroidery work, sarees comes in the most mesmerizing avatars one can imagine. Such wide-ranging variety makes it suitable for all occasions – from weddings to formal functions and official meetings to social get-togethers. Moreover, it looks gorgeous on women of all ages and builds.
When and where are saris used?
Sarees are wore all over India. Now there are geographical differences in the way it is worn according to wear you live in India. Bengali style, traditional style, Gujarati Style, Maharashtrian, Rajrani, Mumtaaz, Mermaid style of wearing it; a mix of modern and traditional.
Sari’s are worn on a daily basis in India. However, just like we have Sunday clothes, there are Sunday sarees, party sarees, wedding sarees, funeral sarees, etc. Girls typically start wearing a sari when they are at least 16 years old or older.
What is a Sari? Videos for Kids
Project Explorer has a great set of videos for kids of different ages, all about saris:
For Elementary Schools:
For Middle and High Schools:
What a beautiful article – especially the photos and videos. And I love that book! Another great Kid World Citizen resource on multiculturalism!
Erin Donaldson says
Love this! My sister in law was born in India so I passed it along to share with my neice! What a beautiful website 🙂