Firstly, I’d like to say that I really missed blogging so much over these past few months! I have one last exam to write tomorrow and then I’ll be done with high school. Finally! I am embarking on a new journey in my life and I’d like to thank all my readers for your comments, compliments and overall love thus far.
Festival season is here! Time to take out those orange-tinted sunnies and cute shorts. Along with the festival season comes festival fashion - something that has been making quite a few headlines lately, especially Coachella.
Most people who know me, know that one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is cultural appropriation. In case you have no idea what cultural appropriation is, it is the misuse of religious or cultural items which, more often than not, have symbolic significance to a designated group of people. These items are usually exploited in mainstream media and portrayed as ‘exotic’ fashion statements while simultaneously being stripped off their original significance.
I decided to create this guide to pertinent festival fashion to showcase how easy it is to look bomb a.f without taking advantage of people’s cultural attire. I will introduce you to different cultural symbols, explain their significance and provide alternatives that wouldn’t be perceived as offensive.
(Tap/click on each picture to enlarge it.)
A bindi is a sacred symbol used more popularly in Hinduism but also used in Buddhism and Jainism. A bindi is worn between the eyebrows and in the place of the Ajna Chakra. The spot between the eyebrows is a nerve point and is believed to retain concentration and energy. The Ajna, or Sixth Chakra, is the point that balances higher and lower selves within the body, provides emotional clarity, visual consciousness and inner guidance. It is commonly known as a representation of the third eye.
Suitable Alternatives: Face Glitter and Face Jewels
Cornrows have been around for thousands of years and are said to have originated in Africa. They were worn in tribes by warriors, kings and women. Cornrows were used to express religion, age, ethnicity and status through the different styling of braiding. In other words, cornrows were used as a means of identifying the tribe a person came from as well as other aspects of their lives.
Suitable Alternatives: Various braid styles
Mehndi or henna is an ancient Indian art form. The patterns have symbolic meaning in Hindu Vedic tradition. Hindu patterns are representations of “awakening of the inner light” and often showcase circular patterns in the middle of the palm seen as the sun. Henna/mehndi is done on the hands and feet of women, in particular, for special occasions such as weddings and traditional/religious ceremonies. Over time, certain Eastern men started to apply henna/mehndi on special occasions as well. Henna/mehndi is applied for events like Diwali and Eid.
Suitable Alternatives: Temporary Patterned Tatttoos
THE NATIVE AMERICAN HEADDRESS
Feather-filled headdresses are synonymous with identifying Native American people. Although, it is not widely known that the headdress is actually part of ONE Native American tribe and not used by all tribes. A headdress was called a war bonnet and worn when going into battle. They are now worn during traditional ceremonies. Not just anyone could wear the war bonnet because you had to earn it through the respect of the tribe. Also, it was only allowed to be worn by male leaders. Being allowed to wear the headdress was seen as a rite of passage.
Suitable Alternatives: Flower and Festival Crowns
And there we go, a complete guide to avoid cultural appropriation at festivals this summer! If you found this guide insightful, please feel free to share this post with your friends and family to spread the education and respect cultures around the world.
Love and light,
(None of the pictures used are my own. These images were taken from Tumblr, Pinterest and Google Images.)
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