Lengha Choli (Material Memory)

Year: 2013

Origin: Bhut, Ghutaraj

Donated By: Sonia Vora

In 2013, Sonia and her family travelled to India for a family holiday  and wedding shopping. Despite not being engaged yet, they began preparations for her sister’s wedding, purchasing bridal outfits in Bhuj, Gujarat, Sonia’s ancestral town. Bargaining for lower prices is common practice in India when it comes to weddings, and Sonia was told to stay quiet during this to avoid revealing their English origin and increasing prices.

The outfit has only been worn only twice – at her sister’s 2015 wedding, and Diwali. The colours were chosen in line with Indian wedding traditions, where the bride’s side has its own colour scheme. Sonia’s brother and dad also wore purple and cream Indian suits, and her eldest sister wore a saree matching her own. Indian sarees, typically made of chiffon or silk due to the hot climate, are part of the ensemble called ‘Lengha choli,’ including a top, skirt, and a duppata shawl. 

Sonia’s sister’s wedding had about 300 guests, with the bride wearing red. The wedding took place in their hometown, Bolton, lasting approximately 5 hours, excluding the morning prayer. The celebrations spanned three days, as is traditional, featuring a Mhendi night, the wedding ceremony, and a post-wedding family gathering.

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