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Iran: Traditional Gilani clothing under the threat of oblivion

Rasht, Gilan prov, Sept 1, IRNA-The traditional garments from Gilan province, an "Olympic Selection World Heritage" are nowadays ignored at their 1000-year-old birth place and are almost on the verge of oblivion.

Today, neither young girls residing in the provincial towns, nor the ones living at rural areas are any more interested in putting on their traditional garments.

However, in the present electronic era, it is possible to introduce this charming clothing to the world through internet, just as it was selected as one of the four best garments by the Olympic without being sponsored and only on the basis of its beauty, which is a legacy from the soul of the forefathers of this land.

According to a book called Gilan-Nameh and researchers, climatic conditions in the province and its characteristic humidity mainly account for the lack of old clothes and clothing. However, the motifs engraved on various objects discovered at Cheraghali on the slopes of Gilan hills prove that the traditional clothing of the province date back to more than 4,000 years ago.

A Gilani researcher, Fereshteh Talesh-Ensandoust told IRNA that clothing in itself represents the activity, thought, taste and diversity of people's life style.

"The traditional clothing of Gilani women include scarfs, shirt (called sey in Taleshi dialect), shaliteh (a short creased skirt), vest, skirt, pant and shawl wrapped around the waist.

"Gilani women wrap Chador-Shab (Charshou in local dialect) around their waist while working in farms, where they have to bend for hours to pick tea leaves and citrus. They believe that by wrapping them tightly around their waists they keep themselves warm in cold weather and thus prevent pain. Chador-Shabs are usually red," she added.

Talesh-Ensandoust noted that mothers also use these pieces of clothes to hold their babies on their back while working.

Another piece of clothing used by Taleshi women in old days was a combination of boot and trouser used when women had to ride horses to go to summer resorts.

She proposed holding traditional clothing carnivals and establishing anthropological museums in every area as a way to preserve one's local identity and protect them for the future generations.

Another Gilani researcher, Fereydoun Nowzad said that the people of no province should deny their identity and urged that they should rather make optimum use of the advantages of their local clothing, customs, traditions and even food.

"Whey should Gilaki, Baluch, Khorasani, Isfahani, Lorestani young people be ashamed of speaking in their own local dialect and avoid teaching it to their children? "Given that these comprise our identity, if they are not taught to the young generation and the youth community does not develop a full insight on such traditions, our national identity will be undermined through time. Besides, an individual without identity has no reputation in the world," he added.

Turning to clothing as a transferable cultural symbol and the most distinct ethnic sign, he noted that it is easily subject to being impressed by other cultures among various human communities.

He called upon the youth to respect their local traditions and place special focus on their historical and social realities and origin.

For his part, Head of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Gilan province, Mojtaba Naqavi told IRNA that the support so long provided by this department has mostly been spiritual.

He added that usually one pavilion is allocated to local garments during the exhibitions held in the province on various occasions.

... Payvand News - 9/1/05 ... --

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