The Balochi culture shines its colors on the world on the 2nd of March every year.
Pakistan is a country which has numerous cultures and traditions that need no introduction, each tradition speaks out for itself. One of them is the beautiful Balochi culture which is one of the oldest in the world and still holds its distinction and originality when compared to other traditions around the globe.
This cultural day has visitors from all around the world such as Youtuber turned travelers Drew Binsky and Jojo Aigner. The cultural day is celebrated by organizing different categories of events such as passionate rallies, festivals, Balochi cuisines, theatrical performances, folk music, traditional dances by the local women and children in their distinctive vibrant traditional dresses.
There are many notable people in Pakistan that have a Baloch heritage and are part of the political and arts sphere of the country such as Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry and Tariq Mehmood, the famous actor Anwar Iqbal Baloch, Abid Ali, Humaima Malick and Zeba Bakhtiar
1. How Do Men Dress Up For Baloch Cultural Day?
The attire of men include traditional shalwar kameez, however, there are few differences that make the Balochi men stand out from the shalwar suits we see every day. To start with, men wear a crisp shalwar kameez often white in color to counter the effect of the hot and humid weather. Other colors are worn too, it is a completely individual choice, the mainstream color is however white. The shalwar is very baggy and loose. It requires a lot of cloth to be stitched to give it the baggy look that catches our eye. The kameez is also quite loose and often with long sleeves to balance the look with the loose shalwar. The collar and button areas of the kurta often include needlework embroidery with simple patterns. The plackets of the kurta are quite huge which gives the kurta the traditional “round” like shape.
The kurta shalwar itself is the basic apparel and is worn along with other items. Men dress up further by adding a waist coat decorated with patterned needlework or decorative attachments. Baloch men also wear a huge turban on their head which gives them a distinct look. The turban also acts as a symbol of “pride” and “respect” for the Baloch men. These turbans have two long ends hanging from both sides and at times one long end being taken over the other side too. The color of the turban again depends on the individual’s choice. As far as the history is concerned, black and white have been the mainstream colors but with time, men have started to choose a wide variety of colors for their turbans and kurta shalwar, each particular complementing the other. A number of men also pair up their look with shawls.
When it comes to the footwear, men wear chawats that are similar to the classy Peshawari sandals and are made out of the finest leather material available. At times, elements of the modern footwear are also combined, instead of the traditional sandals, Baloch men are now starting to wear “loafers” or leather shoes which further refines the handsome look of the outfit.
To give a feeling of nostalgia and to remind the Baloch generation of their history and heritage, Baloch men use swords or old-fashioned antique shot guns as accessories.
2. How Do Baloch Women Dress Up?
When it comes to women, the women wear their Custom self-stitched Balochi dresses that have been the main part of the Baloch heritage for a long period of time. The dress for women is commonly referred to as the “pashk”.
The uniqueness of the pashk is that it is unlike any other apparel and always stands out from other cultural dresses. Not only is stitching a pashk an art, wearing it makes the wearer a masterpiece of art, the pashk amplifies the beauty of the wearer. The Pashk is stitched out from the highest quality fabric such as silk, cotton or any other material that the customer requires. The basic thread of the pashk itself is of the best quality .The thread consists of multiple bright colors which complement the base colour of the pashk. The most common colour is yellow with green thread and at times for a more mature look, black cloth is stitched with red threads. These threads act as a highlighter.
The most striking feature of this women’s apparel is the unique handmade embroidery which includes needlework pattern designing, beads, tiny jewels and small pieces of mirrors. The needlework is more commonly done to give the other materials a defined outline. The needlework can be of many designs each unique to the desire of the customer or the wearer of the dress. The designs include rectangles running down from the neck to the middle of the pashk followed by a triangular pattern. This design is the benchmark for majority of the pashk made throughout the Balochi region.
The dresses don’t have a placket; this allows the dresses to have their traditional round fall that we all adore. The bottom of the pashk’s shirt has the same embroidery as that of the whole upper region of the dress.
The veil is made out of the same fabric of the dress and the borders use the same embroidery needlework. One of the many unique points of the dress is the overall fit of the pashk. It is not tightly fitted nor is it baggy; it is loose but slightly hugs the wearer with loose sleeves giving a modest and exquisite look that catches our sight. The wearer is free to choose what to wear on the lower region, in urban areas, tight are worn, however, in rural areas, shalwars are worn with the pashk. The accessories worn along with the pashk include byzantine chains with big pendants, earrings, diadems, regular necklaces, bangles, anklets and rings. Most of the times, these pieces of jewelry are made out of either gold or silver. Jewels and precious stones are attached to them to make them even more appealing and beautiful. All of these attachments amplify the appearance of the wearer and the pashk alike to a huge extent.
When it comes to the footwear, it is a completely independent choice of the wearer to choose what to wear with the pashk. Traditionally, decorated sandals are worn with pashks but with time the trend has evolved and women have started to wear the traditional pumpy shoes that have a color contrast and decorations complementing the entire dress.
3. How Do Baloch Kids Dress Up?
The children play a huge role in making the baloch cultural day a memorable day.
Baloch children are dressed up in the same way as their elder counterparts, the only difference however is, they are a lot cuter and lovely. Boys often wear chawats with plain kameez shalwar and sometimes to make the apparel look outstanding, a marri or bugti turban is also worn by kids.
In short Baloch Cultural Day is all about exhibiting the hospitality, beautiful heritage and traditional attire of Balochistan. It’s basic aim is to keep reminding the world about this unseen yet inspiring culture.