ISLAMABAD: As the wedding season in Pakistan reaches its peak with some brides opting for their own creations while others donning creations by famed designers, the heritage museum in Islamabad opened a unique diorama on Thursday which showcases the different traditional and ethnic wedding dresses of the country.
A special gallery has been set up where the intricate ensembles have been displayed. Mannequins have been decked out in the traditional dresses along with traditional jewellery and accessories from all four provinces along with Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Apart from the static exhibit, specially-produced traditional wedding costumes were presented by male and female models who sashayed down the ramp to showcase the beautiful outfits to the traditional wedding tunes produced by classical musical instruments such as Rabab, Santoor, Alghoza, Saroz and flute.
Lok Virsa Executive Director Shahira Shahid explained the concept for creating a diorama about wedding dresses as part of Lok Virsa’s efforts for promoting indigenous folk culture and preserving national heritage for the upcoming generation.
With wedding dresses in the country evolving from season to season, she noted it was important that the new generation can get a glimpse of the traditions and our cultural heritage in this regard.
She noted that in wedding customs, the use of highly embroidered and embellished dresses in beautiful colours, textures and design can be seen and it needs to be preserved.
Wedding dresses differ from one event to another based on the different customs of each individual region and the museum’s new gallery will portray all traditional forms of such dresses from all parts of the country, she said.
Apart from the colourful dresses on display, wedding events also feature melodious songs which also form an important part of any traditional wedding in Pakistan, she explained.
“The fascinating thing about the heritage museum is that it presents the history and living traditions of the people of Pakistan both from the mainstream and the remotest regions of the country,” said Information Ministry Additional Secretary Zahida Parveen, who was the chief guest on the occasion.
“We are fortunate to be part of a region which is known for its rich culture and traditions,” she said, adding, “The roots of Pakistani culture date back thousands of years. This part of the subcontinent is extremely significant in terms of its geographical location. Not only our cuisine, but our clothing and jewellery also have a unique attraction.”
A large number of visitors who were present at the inauguration ceremony closely inspected wedding dresses from different regions.
One unlikely fan wan was the Brazilian Ambassador to Pakistan Claudio Raja Gabaglia Lins who had shown up for the ceremony.
“Looking at the costumes of Pakistani brides and grooms has made me nostalgic about my own wedding day,” Lins said.
He added that Pakistan is amongst the most beautiful countries in the world where you can find all the four seasons, delicious food, traditional dances and dresses.
“If anyone invites me and my wife to a local, traditional wedding, then I will most definitely attend it and will get a traditional dress for my wife to wear,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2019.