|Pavadai Dhavani is a traditional attire worn by the young girls of Tamilnadu. This clothing represents the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu and is worn by the girls as soon as they attain puberty till they get married.
This dress is also used in other South Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. It is called as Langa Voni in Telugu, Langa Dhavani in Kannadam and commonly known as two-piece saree or half saree.
PLACE OF ORIGIN
The origin of half saree is said to be Tamilnadu. However, the exact records of origination have not yet been found. As a matter of fact, padavai dhavani is being worn by the Tamil women for more than three to four centuries.
The grace of pavadai dhavani has attracted Malayalis and they adopted this style with open hands. Dhavani was defined as the symbol of rural beauty. But, the trend of salwar kameez set back pavadai dhavani for few years and it is considered as old fashioned. Even the girls who had the desire of wearing this traditional dress, stayed away from it just because of the reason that people may consider them as old-fashioned. But, the new form of padavai dhavani is on track, which is the blend of both the rural style as well as the urban style.
The dress consists of Pavadai (long skirt), blouse and a half saree measuring about 2-2.5 meters. Adorning half saree is a smooth transition from the age as a small girl to the age of a matured girl. Unlike salwar kameez and saree, a half saree is age specific. It belongs exclusively to teenage and no lady past her teenage can wear this dress, as it may not look graceful.
Dhavani is a unstitched material draped in the same way as that of saree. Wearing a saree is a complicated procedure, whereas the half saree can be worn easily. Saree being a material of around 8-9 yards in length has to be wrapped around the body in different fashion. As it would not be easy for a girl of around 12 years to carry this lengthy saree, half sarees work out very well.
There is a tradition in Tamilnadu to conduct a function whenever a girl attains puberty. The girl is presented with the half saree by her maternal grand parents and she has to wear the dress for the first half of the function. Her paternal grand parents should present her a saree that should be worn in the second half.
The tradition of presenting pavadai dhavani by the grand parents starts with Naamakaranai (naming ceremony) of the baby girl, followed by her Annaprasannah (first rice feeding ceremony) and finally during her age ceremony.
Due to the influence of western culture and due to the inconvenience & time constraints, the girls made switch from traditional attire to modern outfits. In recent years, the trend of wearing half saree has come back by the attention of media and also by the interest taken by few entrepreneurs. In olden days, padavai dhavani simply meant a long silk skirt with the same color blouse and a contrasting color dhavani draping over the left shoulder.
A new trendy skirts have arrived now with extravagant embroidery, mirror or zari work with bold colors like black and grey that were once considered inauspicious. The fabric like cotton, Georgette, and other synthetic materials like crepe and nylon are also being used. Skirts are now usually made of light to mid-weight fabrics like denim, jersey, worsted or poplin. Skirts of thin or clingy fabrics need slips to help the material of the skirt wear in a better way. All these changes have made the dress popular again.
Few years before, there was a trend of wearing pavadai dhavani only during festivals. The culture has now been changed in such a way that this costume is being used even as a party wear.
The old generation had a trouble of finding matching shawls for the skirt and the top wear to choose. But, the ready made dhavanis are available decorated with stones, embroidery in this new trend.
Davani with colorful decorations are being used these days by the brides during engagement ceremonies. The plain silk frilled skirts have been replaced with a line cut skirts and a umbrella cut skirts.
HOW TO WEAR DHAVANI?