Bihar, the land that has inculcated traditional old values to the core, is noted for its hand woven textiles in the field of costume. Particularly, the rustic crowd of Bihar adheres to the traditional pattern of dresses and jewellery. Though most of the population of the state still remains in rural areas the costumes worn by them are still traditional. The clothes for the people of different religions are a bit divergent. The senior male citizens of Bihar, irrespective of Hindu or Muslim, favour tradition, when it comes to costumes. If a Hindu elderly person prefers Dhoti
(an Indian loin cloth), a Muslim person might dress himself in Lungi
(a type of petticoat for men) or Pyjama (loose trousers). As an upper garment, men usually go for Kurta
(loose, normally cotton, Indian, T-shirts), and shirts.
Men`s wear in Bihar
However, the men resort to attractive apparels for ceremonies, festivals and social gatherings. Kurtas, Churidar, Pyjamas and Sherwani are the ideal costumes, chosen for such special occasions, where accurate attitude owes a lot to an impressive dressing style. The Muslims, Sikhs
, and Christian males are habituated in luxuriating in the fragrance of perfumes and "attar" on an every day basis. It is interesting to note that men of Bihar inhabit a penchant for ornaments. They decorate themselves with bala or bali (bangles) in Shahabads, Kanausi in Patna
. Again Gowalas (the milkmen) flaunt themselves in Kundals (earrings). However, malas or bead necklaces are on the rise these days, than, the other ornaments.
Women`s wear in Bihar
The costume of the women folk of Bihar is chosen carefully in keeping with tradition. As per tradition, married women, smear the hair- parting zone with powder of Sindoor or vermillion. Tikli, a forehead-adorning little ornament is added to the hair-partitioning area. On the forehead, a Bihari married woman, be she an urban or a rural one, usually applies bindi. A lot of Bihari women, love applying Kajal i.e. eye-pencil, or antimony eye-make-up called Surma, to improve the appeal of their eyes. They also indulge in flattering their senses with soothing aromatic oils that leave them perfumed, and refreshed, in the mind and body. Tattoo-paintings are broadly prevalent among Bihari women. They give detailed attention to their hands, and beautify them with Mehendi-designs (a kind of tattooing, done with colors fetched from herbal product like, amla or shikakai).
Ornaments and Accessories
Ornaments with elaborate designs and extravagant look, such as Chandrahar, Tilri, Panchlari, Satlari, and Sikri are the common accessories, accompanying a woman in Bihar. Indeed, the plethora of accessories, replicate upon the craze for jewellery and ornaments. Women`s passions for jewellery are not restricted to necklaces only. They buy and wear myriad ornaments for arms, wrists and fingers. The most popular are bangles, rings, for hands and the anklets (worn around ankles). Beauty-consciousness is an inherent characteristic of feminine nature. And in this respect, even the tribal women of Bihar, are not lagging behind. Even the men participate in these regular grooming-sessions. Tribal people, inclusive of both men and women, wrap a thin strip of cloth round the waist. By rule, they maintain two pieces, of cloth, one for home-use and the other for going out. Their men are accustomed to wearing Dhotis, whereas women attire themselves in sarees.
Drawing tattoo on the forehead, arms and legs is very much in vogue among tribal population. This is especially in harmony with their belief in magic. To sum up, simplicity is the mantra which provides an aura of elegance to the costume of this tribal elegance of Bihar. The costumes of Bihar, thus exhibit the richness, refinement and immeasurable worth of a heritage that remains ever-glorious, even in the face of changing times.