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Pakistani Traditional Costume, “Salwar Qameez”

It is a great pleasure to us, Pakistanis, to see JEN’s Japanese staff getting familiar with Pakistani culture. Today, I will introduce Pakistani traditional costume, “Salwar Qameez”. I did not have any special feelings toward this costume, but JEN’s staff of various nationalities wearing this costume looks very elegant indeed.

“Salwar Qameez” has a history going back to the 12th century, the time of the Mughal Empire. Salwar Qameez itself is said to originate from clothes worn by the Turkic tribes, who led a life riding horses in the great plains of Central Asia. Most of these tribes converted to Islam.
Since the 12th century, this area had been frequently invaded from outside. Eventually, a regime by the Turkic Iranians (Delhi Sultanates, later taken over by the Mughal Empire) was established in the area of present-day North India and Pakistan.
As a result, Salwar came to be worn as a traditional costume. Nowadays, people of diverse religions, not necessarily Muslims, wear this costume in everyday life.

Many people wear Salwar Qameez in South Asia. “Salwar” is a pair of loose pants and “Qameez” is a shirt with long sleeves. It is comfortable to wear and worn in everyday life as well as in the ceremonial occasions like funerals and weddings. Particularly in India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, it is commonly worn. The pants are loose around the hips like pajamas and tight around ankles.



When women wear Salwar Qameez, they usually wear a long scarf or a shawl called “Dupatta” around their heads and necks. For Muslim women, Dupatta is a lighter alternative to Chador or Burqa.  For Hindu women, Dupatta is very useful when the head must be covered, as in a temple or in the presence of elders.  Dupatta is simple and stylish and can be simply worn over your shoulder or draped around your chest and over your shoulders.

I really hope you will have a chance to become familiar with this culture.

April 25, 2013 in Afghanistan |