History of Garas and Saris Demo

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Date(s) - 08/02/2013
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Zarathushti Heritage and Cultural Center

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The Library Committee organized a very interesting and unusual program on Friday, February 8. The evening began with a fascinating Powerpoint presentation on the history of garas by Aban Rustomji that was truly one-of-a-kind. Who knew that the garas had so much history, culture and art that went into it?

In her presentation, Aban said: “The Gara is sheer magic − hand-embroidered chamois or silk saris introduced to the Parsi community by seafaring traders to China during the opium trade back in early 1800s”. Pictures of several breath-taking garas demonstrated these veritable works of art, finely embroidered with birds of paradise, peonies and figures with temples and bridges – each one a priceless piece to be handed down to the generations. Today the gara is synonymously linked with traditional attire for Parsi women. It is a precious family heirloom, preserved and worn with aplomb for special occasions and guarded zealously as the price for its exclusivity soars.

This was followed by another segment that was also unique. Several members had expressed an interest in learning how to wear a sari, so we had volunteers demonstrate various ways to wear a sari: Parsi style, Indian style, and Modern (Bollywood) style. Several volunteers went on stage to show the finer points of sari-wearing, from diaper-pins to pleat-making, that only comes through word-of-mouth and sharing each other’s experience. Our sincere thanks to the gracious volunteers: Villi Bhappu, Nazneen and Mitra Khumbatta, Diana and Michelle Balsara, Persis Buchia, and Anahita Desai.

The unexpectedly large turnout, which included many men, made for a very enjoyable evening that was accompanied by snacks, wine and cheese. This program was a fitting prelude to our upcoming Garas and Daglis fundraiser coming up on February 23.