Talking about traditional costume of Nepal it would be right to say not “costume” but “costumes” because though Nepal is a small country there are many ethnic groups living here and each group has their unique traditional dress. I will tell about a few that I find most interesting.
The Newars. This ethnic group has many different styles of dress among themselves but there is one common thing – they prefer combinations of black and red colours. The most common seen Newar woman’s dress is the hakku potashi, a black sari with red borders. Young girls wear it knee level, but older women prefer to completely cover their legs. The sari is complimented by a white patuka wrapped aroud the waist and a cotton shawl wrapped diagonally over the blouse.Men wear a double-breasted shirt (daura) with flaps fastened by ties diagonally across the chest, and tight trousers called suruwal. The costume can be supplemented by a belt, a vest and a cap called topi. Actually, men of other Nepal’s ethnic groups have similar costume.
The Limbus. Dhaka weaves adorn Limbu women who wear shawls and blouses made from it. Another striking feature is their use of jewelry, especially impressive is a large decorative piece of gold known as samyanfung. It is worn on the head, made of flat circular gold plate with coral stone embellished in the center. Two nose adornments – in the centre and the left side, big round earrings and a necklace of gold beads and red felt pads are traditional jewelry of Limbu women as well.
The Sherpas. Traditional Sherpa costume is similar to that of Tibetans. The basic garment is the chhuba. Men wear their chhubas to knee length and under it they have a jacket or shirt with a stiff high collar and extremely long sleeves, tetung. Women wear a sleeveless chhuba called engi, or a sleeved one called tongok. Over it they wear striped woolen aprons called pangi which also determines the marital status of the woman. Hats are an important part of the costume and are worn by both men and women.
The Magars and Gurungs. Their traditional dress is very similar to each others. Women wear dark coloured sari with a bright yellow or blue cotton cloth wrapped around the waist (patuka) and a wrap-up blouse. The shoulders are covered with a shawl worn diagonally and another shawl is worn on the head. Men wear a wrap-on-knee-length loincloth (kachhad) with a short vest tied at the shoulders and a dhaka topi on their heads.
The Tharu. This ethnic group lives in the Tarai region of Nepal. Tharu women are acknowledged by their bright colourful dresses. They wear a blouse and a sari that is wrapped around the waist in a way that looks more like a skirt. The blouses are decorated with bright pompons, mirrors, coins. The women also wear necklaces made from a large amount of coins sewn together. Tharu men’s suit is very simple – a loincloth in the form of lungi and a vest over the naked body.
The Tamangs. Tamang women wear red or black coloured blouses and blue with red horizontal patterns saris wrapped around the waist and supplemented by yellow patuka. Men and women wear a special kind of woolen cap.