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10 Incredible Facts of Indonesian Kebaya

by Tri Setiya

Kebaya is one of the typical clothes owned in Indonesia. Kebaya is a traditional blouse worn by Indonesian women made of thin material worn with sarongs, batik, or other traditional knitwear such as songket with colorful motifs.

It used to be the type of dress that became the traditional dress of Java. However, it is no longer for now, as time goes by, kebaya clothes are now beginning to be used by every Indonesian woman from various islands, until finally make kebaya clothes now become national clothes.  This unique Indonesian fashion is perfect for use in important moments like wedding moments, graduation moments, and many more. To see more facts of Indonesian Kebaya, you could follow these paragraphs.

  1. The word of Kebaya taken from Arabic words “Abaya”

The origin of the kebaya is from the Arab country, from the word “Abaya” brought to Indonesia (Nusantara) hundreds of years ago, in the 16th century this kebaya is only intended for the royal family and the women of Europe in Indonesia.

Other versions mention it from the word “Kebyak” or “Mbayak” from Javanese society. There is an opinion that states kebaya comes from China. Then spread to Malacca, Java, Bali, Sumatra, and Sulawesi. After hundreds of years of acculturation, the clothes are accepted in local cultures and norms.

  1. Former kebaya

Around the year 1500-1600, on the island of Java, kebaya is a clothing worn only the royal family of Java. Kebaya also become clothing worn family of Cirebon Sultanate,  Kebaya in the 16th century only used mori cloth is a white woven fabric made of cotton and is usually used as a material to make batik cloth. There are two types of mori fabric that is mori fabric that has experienced the process of bleaching or bleaching and mori cloth that has not been bleached. Unloiled fabrics are also called calico cloths.

  1. Kebaya used as the Javanese dress

Kebaya dress is identical with Javanese culture. It is worn by the women of the nobility as well as among the ordinary people as everyday dress and ceremonial attire. For everyday clothes Javanese women are generally wearing a kemben combined with stagen and cloth. While stagen wrapped on the abdomen to tapihan tapihan lenght for strong and not easily separated.

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  1. Java Island has many models of kebaya

In ancient times, Kebaya was worn by Javanese women. The model and the type of his kebaya is different in every area scattered throughout the Java region. Central Java has its own kebaya model, kebaya commonly used by the women in Central Java usually the model of Solo / Surakarta. Solo is an area that is known as the palace and royal areas which still does the customs and nuances of the Javanese kingdom. Kebaya from central java in general is a kebaya made of black velvet, brocade or nylon.

  1. Kebaya is full of philosophy

The existence of kebaya in Indonesia is not just clothes. Kebaya has more meaning and function than that. Simple form can be said as a form of simplicity of the people of Indonesia. The philosophy value of kebaya is adherence, subtlety, and the maturity of woman behavior.

  1. Paired with Jarik

Kebaya is always identical paired with a jarik or cloth that binds the body. The fabric that covers the body directly will make any woman wearing it difficult to move quickly. That is why Javanese women are always synonymous with graceful personalities.

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  1. Kebaya often become the formal dress code in Indonesia

In weddings, formal state meetings, and exclusive events in Indonesia, you may see many people use kebaya for those events. Formal and non formal events that carry the theme of Indonesia’s image usually obliges kebaya as a dress code and the trend of fashion.  In general Kebaya is often used at certain celebration parties. You can also wear kebaya at formal parties with business associates, weddings, traditional event festivals, to graduation celebrations such as graduation.

  1. It was only be used by the women of Javanese (noble) royalty at first

Kebaya at first may only be used by women of Javanese (noble) royalty. It is a type of clothing worn by Javanese women, especially in the cultural environment of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, Central Java. Usually accompanied by kemben and cloth tapih borrow with stagen. But at this time, along with the development of the era can be used by everyone in every layer of society.

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  1. One of the popular traditional clothing of the world

Kebaya is a traditional Indonesian dress derived from Malay culture (Southeast Asia). Many traditional clothes in Southeast Asia resemble kebaya as in Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore. Kebaya is a blouse (clothes tops) combined with cloth as subordinates, cloth worn also a traditional cloth such as batik, songket. So it is not surprising if kebaya many varieties such as Javanese kebaya, kebaya Bali, kebaya Sunda and others. Kebaya will look elegant, luxurious and classy if modified with embroidery, sequins, beads and more.

  1. Originate from Majapahit Kingdom

The history of kebaya originates from the earliest form of Kebaya originated from the palace of the Majapahit Kingdom in Java and as a means of combining existing female ’Kemban’, the torso wrap of aristocratic women becomes simpler and acceptable by the newly adopted Islam. Aceh, Riau and Johor Kingdom and North Sumatra adopted Javanese style kebaya as a means of expression of social status with Java masters become smoother.

Now you have known the facts of Indonesian kebaya.  Although the kebaya of the present has undergone various design changes, you should remain proud of one of these Indonesian outfits as it is still reckoned in the fashion world. In general Kebaya is often used at certain celebration parties. You can also wear kebaya at formal parties with business associates, weddings, traditional event festivals, to graduation celebrations such as graduation.

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