The saree is considered to be the oldest form of a woman’s clothing and it is said to have been invented five thousand years back. It is discovered during the time cotton was invented and it was started to be used in manufacturing clothes. Since then, it has become the most popular form of women’s attire with various styles, especially in the South Asian Regions. While various styles of saree draping is introduced in Sri Lanka and India, the osariya, also known as the Kandyan saree is the very unique style of saree draping and is also considered as the national dress of Sinhalese women in Sri Lanka. Though it is different from the famous Indian Nivi style, the osariya had initially originated in India and was later introduced to the Kandyan culture through the Nayakkar Kings who ruled the Kandyan Kingdom before the British Era.
What is it that makes Osariya different from others?
Sarees in Sri Lanka are world famous and they are indeed very comfortable as well as beautiful. The additional thing that separates Osariya from the various draping styles found in the Indian Subcontinent is the addition of odukkuwa which is an elaborate frill situated at the side of the waist. Apart from the same, frilled borders on the shoulder part which is called osari pota, also play an integral part of the outfit. It consists of floral designs, geometric patterns, or religious motifs which makes it much conspicuous than the osariya portion which is wrapped around the waist. In today’s date, the complete length of the material used to drape osariya ranges between five to six yards.
What is the relation of Osariya with India and Tamil Women?
As per the book Costumes of Sri Lanka, it says that the Indian Sarees were introduced to Sri Lanka in the 20th Century by the women of Moratuwa and this style was infamously known as Moratuwa Sarees. Indian Sarees as well as Osariya had already been introduced by the Kandyan Culture by then and it had become so popular because of the nationalist campaigns of Anagarika Dharmapala, who was against the Sinhalese women because of wearing Western clothing.
The osariya is said to be a mix of two different styles of saree draping: the ohoriya and the selai styles, both of them belonging to the Tamil Origin. Murals in the Hindagala and Malaagammana temples depict the oldest form of the ohoriya. On the other hand, the selai, which is a Tamil word for saree, refers to the particular style of saree which is very popular amongst the Tamil women of Jaffna. It consists of the fall or pallu, being wound around the waist and tucked into a fan-shaped frill at the back.
Where is Osariya majorly used?
Osariya is very famous amongst Sri Lankan Women. It is majorly used by the Sri Lankan brides and they also use it for office wear. It is also redesigned as per the modern fashion trends.
Last but not the least; Osariya is widely accepted amongst the Sri Lankan women. Not only used as office wear or for wedding wear, but it is also used by the Air Hostesses and the other female employees of the airline companies prevailing in Sri Lanka.