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The lungi (/luŋɡi/) is a type of sarong, originating from the Indian subcontinent, and a traditional garment worn around the waist in Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somalia, Nepal, Cambodia, Djibouti, Myanmar and Thailand. It is particularly popular in regions where the heat and humidity create an unpleasant climate for trousers.
Unlike dhotis (Mundu), which are linear like sheets, lungis are sometimes sewn into a tube shape like a skirt. They are especially worn in hot regions. There are also cheaper "open" lungis, in identical dimensions but not sewn into a tube shape. The standard adult lungi is 115 cm in height and 200 cm in length, when open. Children's lungis are available in approximately 2/3 of this size. They are normally woven from cotton and come in a variety of designs and colors. Silk lungis are available for ceremonial purposes such as weddings. The most common styles are either solid-colored or plaid, reflecting the relative ease and cost-effectiveness of producing these patterns on a power loom. Blue is particularly popular, since it fades to pleasant tones in contrast to other colors. Regardless of the design or color, lungis are often lined at the top and bottom with a black/white stripe containing reinforced weaving to prevent fraying.
Depending on local tradition, lungis can be worn by men and/or women (rarely). They are tied or fastened in various ways, and can be used in different cultural activities, ranging from normal daily life to elaborate wedding ceremonies. For daily purposes, a simple "double twist" knot is most popular, where two points in the upper edge of lungi are brought together and twisted around twice, with the ends tucked in at the waist. However, it is also common for wearers to simply tie a double "pretzel knot" from 2 points on the upper border, which produces a more secure knot. The lungi's length can also be adjusted, for example, by tucking in the lungi at the waist to make it resemble a short skirt.
In India, the customs behind wearing lungis vary by state. It could be worn with or without the traditional unsewn kaupinam or later-era sewn langot, both of which are type of traditional loincloth undergarments.
In Kerala, the lungi is generally colourful and available in various designs, and it is worn by both men and women. It is also called Kaili. Physical laborers typically use it as a working dress. A Kerala dhoti is plain white and known as mundu, and it often bears golden embroidery (known as "kasavu" mundu), especially at the border; it is worn as formal attire and on ceremonial occasions like weddings, festivals, etc. Saffron-coloured mundus are known as kaavi munde. The men sometimes tuck up their mundus (Kerala dhoti) or lungis with the bottom of the garment being pulled up and tied back on to the waist. This would mean that the mundu (Kerala dhoti) or lungi only covers the body from the waist to the knees.
In Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, only men wear this garment, and it is worn slightly differently from men in Kerala; Keralites tie the mundu to the right side, while the Tamilians tie it to their left. However, there are exceptions and some of the Muslim communities in Kerala also tie the mundu to their left. It is also known as "Kaili" or "Saaram/Chaaram" in South Tamil Nadu. The Muslims of Tamil Nadu are found to favor white-colored lungis for formal occasions.
In Karnataka it is customary for village residents to wear the lungi at all times and for all occasions. The garment is always worn for marriages; the bride and groom fathers and the groom himself wear white panche. If a family can afford it, they typically choose a pure silk panche for the marriage ceremony.
It is common in Konkan side of Karnataka state. Mostly used by Nawayath people who hails from Bhatkal Almost all of them wears it as their daily attire. It is as a mark of their tradition in Bhatkal. Mostly you will find them sewn like cylindrical shape. White lungi is common in them
In Punjab (both Pakistani and Indian portions), lungis are worn by both men and women. The male lungi is also called a tehmat, while the female lungi is called a laacha. They are part of traditional dance attire in Bhangra dance groups, but are also popular in rural areas as home wear. They are generally tied in a different way than in other parts of India and are, as a rule, unstitched and very colourful. Wearing the lungi has declined in the Punjab region in recent years.
The lungi (Bengali: লুঙ্গি /luŋɡi/, Sylheti: ꠟꠋꠉꠤ /lonɡi/) is the most commonly seen dress of Bangladeshi men, although it is not normally worn for formal occasions. In Bangladesh, lungis are worn by men, almost universally indoors and commonly outdoors as well. Elaborately designed tartan cotton, batik, or silk lungis are also often presented as wedding gifts to the groom in a Bangladeshi wedding. The typical Bangladeshi lungi is a seamless tubular shape, as opposed to the single sheet worn in other parts of South and Southeast Asia. In Bangladesh, the lungi industry is concentrated in Sirajganj, Kustia, Pabna and Khulna. Bangladeshi women do not traditionally wear lungis, although non-Bengali tribal women do wear similar garments in some parts of southeastern Bangladesh.
In April 2013, the Baridhara Housing Society—a housing society in Dhaka—banned lungi, and began refusing entry to those who wore them. However, many opposed the ban, taking to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to criticize the decision. A march took place on 13 April to oppose the ban.
Meanwhile, U.S Ambassador Dan Mozena has been seen wearing a lungi in front of his house. Some famous lungi companies in Bangladesh are Pakiza Lungi, ATM Lungi, and Allaher dan Lungi House (Jalalpur Notun Para Pabna)
In Ethiopia, the Lungi is commonly worn by Afar region people. As the climate is very hot in the Afar region, the Lungi makes the perfect garment.
In Myanmar, it is spelt longyi. For men, the longyi is known as a paso (Burmese: ပုဆိုး), and for women, it is known as a htamain (Burmese: ထဘီ). Longyis of different fabrics, including cotton and silk, are worn for both informal and formal occasions.
In Somalia, the garment is typically worn by most men from all varying tribes. It's a stable in Somali culture due its lightweight material and the arid Somali climate.
In Thailand, it is known as a "pa kao mah" (Thai: ผ้าขาวม้า) for men and a "pa toong" (Thai: ผ้าถุง) for women.
Capulana and macawiis
In Mozambique, a clothing called the capulana is worn, derived from the lungi and the Arabian izaar since the establishment of the Arab/Indian trade routes. In Somalia, a sarong called macawiis is commonly worn by men as casual wear. Although nomadic and urban Somali men have worn them for centuries in the form of a plain white skirt.
In popular culture
In 2013, a song called "Lungi Dance" was made and used as a promotion song. It was written, composed and sung by the rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh and starred himself along with Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.
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