The existence of songket dates back a few hundred years ago with its origin believed to have started in India Country. Only royalty such as Sultans and Kings traditionally wears it. Nowadays, it is available for anyone to wear or use.
Songket is a hand-women piece of brocaded (textured) fabric consisting of either cotton, polyester or silk as the base material with gold or silver threads making up its elaborate designs as the pattern decorating the songket in parts or in full.
Songket is traditionally considered an exquisite, luxurious and prestigious traditional fabric, only worn for special occasions, religious festivals, and traditional social functions. it has become a required garment for brides and grooms for their weddings, as in the traditional wedding constumes of Palembang, Minangkabau and Bali.
Today, Songket is mostly worn in traditional settings as traditional consumes for weddings or any traditional ceremonies. Several efforts has been conducted to promote songket as a popular fabric for fashion, either locally and abroad. During the Dutch colonial era, West Sumatran songket were exhibited in the Netherlands. The Sawahlunto Songket Carnival was held in Sawahlunto, West Sumatra in August 2015. The Songket carnival featured a parade and exhibition with participants from numbers of songket studios across West Sumatra. The carnival, held on 28 August 2015, was recorded in the Indonesian Museum of Records for the most people wearing songket at a same time, with 17,290 people wearing Silungkang songket during the event.
There are hundreds of songket patterns. In Palembang tradition, songket is inseparable from the lives of the people who wear it during important events such as births, marriages, and death. Examples of Palembang songket patterns are naga besaung, pucuk rebung, biji pare, bintang berante, bintang kayu apuy, bungo mawar, bungo melati, bungo cino, bungo jepang, bungo intan, bungo pacik, cantik manis, tigo negeri, leupus berakam, pulir, tabur limar and nampan perak.
HOW TO WEAR SONGKET ?
The songket has a head (kepala) and body (badan), where one would step into the samping whilst holding the ends at arms' length. He would then position the "head" of the songket at the back of his body (ie. at the butt) and fold in one side first, then the other side to the middle, then twisting the ends which now come together in the middle by rolling it downwards the body towards the torso.
When the bottom of the songket is just slightly below the knee, stop rolling and 'clean-up' any loose or jutting ends.
Songket is available for both men and women.
@ Jackie San