Talking about Northeast India, one could clearly connect to the rich culture and the diversity this region has to offer. With such diverse tribes, languages, costumes and traditions, it only made us wonder how to narrow down and project the indigenous culture of the local tribes of Meghalaya.
What could be of interest, apart from the local delicacies, landmark and the unique produce? Voila! The idea struck as I was passing through the streets of Shillong. I noticed, the most common sight among all was – Jain Kyrshah, the traditional dress of Meghalaya 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. Source
Not only does it signify decency and culture among the women of Meghalaya, 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 cloth 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 experience as we explore! As part of our venture, we have highlighted, the traditional attire of Meghalaya here today. Do let us know your thoughts. Would you like to read more about other traditional handicrafts or cultural practices of Meghalaya? Add your thoughts as comments and we’ll follow up!