The Bridal Sari

In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant

A sari is a garment traditionally worn by South Asian women, wrapped around the body in an elegant manner. My mother preserved her wedding sari filled with intricate designs. In her day, arranged marriages were an essential part of life for Indian couples, and my parents were set to be married after a mere week of meeting. A year later, they found themselves in America – the land of freedom. As the United States is a society that places great importance on the freedom of actions and speech, my mother suffered culture shock coming from her arranged world.   For my mother, the sari—with its heavy hues of traditional red and gold bridal colors, silken threads, and captivating embroidery—is more than what meets the eye. It is customary for the groom’s family to decide on a wedding dress, which should then be agreed upon by the bride and her family—a wholesome agreement between both parties. The six-yard sari was adorned on my mother by various family members. Everyone had shared a part to tailor the sari, adding its own element.   The bridal sari is a process of agreement, beauty, and acceptance. Embarking to America, my mother could not let go of her sari, as this was her last defining moment before leaving India. She knew she would have to exchange her saris for Western wear consisting of slacks and crisp shirts. She was aware of the language, clothing, and ideal differences she would encounter. The wedding sari serves as a symbol for the varying beliefs between India and America.

Place(s): India
Year: 1986

– Amena Abbasi

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant