The first instance of Langa Voni or half saree dates back thousands of years in history. This attire is mainly donned by ladies of south India, especially by girls whose puberty have set in but are yet to be married.
This beauteous attire consists of three parts, the ‘langa’ or the skirt, the blouse and the ‘voni’ or dupatta. The skirt is tied around the waist and fall of the ensemble is till toe-length or ankle length.
Its Cultural Significance
The half saree has a deep-rooted cultural significance. It marks the phasing out of childhood for a woman and stepping into adulthood. In the much know ‘coming of age ceremony’ that is celebrated for each lady who gets her puberty in South India, she is presented with a Langa voni or half saree by her maternal grandparents, which she wears for the first half of the ceremony; then for the second half, she dons a saree, which is gifted by her paternal grandparents.
The appeal of Half Saree
There is an uncomplicated appeal about half sarees. They have the ease of skirts and the grandeur of sarees. With half sarees, you do not need to struggle to get the perfect set of pleats. You just need to put on the skirt and the blouse and take the ‘voni’ or dupatta in the fashion of a pallu, by tucking one end inside the skirt and wrapping it around to leave the other end dangling.
The ease, comfort and class that half sarees offer is unmatchable. They have a feminine touch to them that is intrinsic of Indian culture.
Bollywood & Half Sarees
The appeal of half sarees remained restricted to the peripheries of south India, till it was featured in big-budget movies like Chennai Express, where Deepika Padukone embraced this attire, and 2 States, in which ‘Ananya’- the character name of Alia Bhatt, would have remained incomplete without it.
Various Styles of Half Sarees
The traditional Half saree consisted of a plain skirt that did not have any border, a dupatta, and a blouse that is similar to the north Indian ‘kurta’ to be worn along with the skirt.
However, with the passage of time, various styles have emerged to cater to women with varied sense of fashion. Blouses that have a bare midriff is in vogue these days. Other popular fashions are halter-neck and backless blouses. Borders on half sarees were previously considered inauspicious, but these days they are widely being used along with other embellishments.
There are a number of designs available for the skirts too. A-line cut, mermaid cut, peacock cut are a few examples that are gaining rapid popularity.
Maintaining a Half Saree
Half sarees are available in a variety of fabrics, like silk, cotton, georgette, chiffon etc. Each fabric has its special need for being properly maintained. But there are a few things that are common for all half sarees; -
Do not machine wash your half-saree, especially if it has embellishment
Bucket wash it in soapy water
Avoid drying your half saree under direct sunlight as it will lead to fading of colours
Do not wash your half sarees very frequently as it will weaken and deteriorate the yarns of the garment
Store them in muslin or cotton cloth to avoid locking moisture