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A sarong or sarung (/səˈrɒŋ/); is a large tube or length of fabric, often wrapped around the waist, worn in Southeast Asia, Southern Asia, Western Asia, Northern Africa, East Africa, and on many Pacific islands. Sarong_sentence_0

The fabric often has woven plaid or checkered patterns, or may be brightly colored by means of batik or ikat dyeing. Sarong_sentence_1

Many modern sarongs have printed designs, often depicting animals or plants. Sarong_sentence_2

Different types of sarongs are worn in different places in the world, notably, the lungi in the Indian subcontinent and the izaar in the Arabian Peninsula. Sarong_sentence_3

Etymology Sarong_section_0

The term "sarong" ([ˈsaroŋ) is an English loanword of Malay origin meaning "to cover" or "to sheath". Sarong_sentence_4

It was first used in 1834 referring skirt-like garment of the Malay. Sarong_sentence_5

The "sarong" is also the colloquial and old spelling of the Indonesian and Malay word for sarung (Jawi: ساروڠ), while in formal Indonesian known as sarung ([ˈsaruŋ). Sarong_sentence_6

Sarong is known in many names across Asia; including Javanese: ꦱꦫꦸꦁ, sarung; Tamil: சரம்; Arabic: صارون; Sinhalese: සරම. Sarong_sentence_7

Overview Sarong_section_1


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Sarong or sarung denotes the lower garment worn by Southeast Asian men and women. Sarong_sentence_8

This consists of a length of fabric about a yard (0.91 m) wide and two-and-a-half yards (2.3 m) long. Sarong_sentence_9

In the center of this sheet, across the narrower width, a panel of contrasting color or pattern about one foot wide is woven or dyed into the fabric, which is known as the kepala or "head" of the sarong. Sarong_sentence_10

This sheet is stitched at the narrower edges to form a tube. Sarong_sentence_11

One steps into this tube, brings the upper edge above the level of the navel (the hem should be level with the ankles), positions the kepala at the center of the back, and folds in the excess fabric from both sides to the front center, where they overlap and secures the sarong by rolling the upper hem down over itself. Sarong_sentence_12

Malay men wear sarongs woven in a check pattern; women wear sarongs dyed in the batik method, with, for example, flower motifs, and in brighter colors. Sarong_sentence_13

However, in Javanese culture, the wearing of batik sarung is not restricted to women on formal occasions such as weddings. Sarong_sentence_14

The sarong is common wear for women, in formal settings with a kebaya blouse. Sarong_sentence_15

Malay men wear sarongs in public only when attending Friday prayers at the mosque, but sarongs remain very common casual wear at home for men of all ethnicities and religions in Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and much of the Indian subcontinent. Sarong_sentence_16

(In the Indian subcontinent, excluding Sri Lanka, sarongs are sometimes known as mundu or lungi). Sarong_sentence_17

Regional variations Sarong_section_2

Arabian Peninsula Sarong_section_3

Main article: Izaar Sarong_sentence_18


  • Sarong_item_1_2
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Sarongs known under a variety of local names are traditionally worn by the people of Yemen and elsewhere on the Arabian Peninsula. Sarong_sentence_19

Local names for the garment include fūṭah, izaar, wizār and maʿwaz (pl. maʿāwiz). Sarong_sentence_20

In Hadhramawt sarong is called ṣārūn in the interior and ṣārūm in the coastal region. Sarong_sentence_21

In Oman, sarongs are called wizār and are often white in color, similar to the Keralan mundu of the Indian subcontinent and it is usually worn under the Thawb. Sarong_sentence_22

In Saudi Arabia, sarongs are known as izaar. Sarong_sentence_23

Designs can be checkered or striped as well floral or arabesque, but double plaid (i.e., a vertical section of the izār with a different plaid pattern) designs from Indonesia are also very popular. Sarong_sentence_24

In southwestern Saudi Arabia, tribal groups have their own style of unstitched izaar, which is locally woven. Sarong_sentence_25

This is also worn in northern Yemen. Sarong_sentence_26

However, the tribal groups in Yemen each have their own design for their fūṭah, the latter of which may include tassels and fringes. Sarong_sentence_27

It is thought that this tribal futah resembles the original izaar as worn on the Arabian Peninsula since pre-Islamic times such as the Shendyt. Sarong_sentence_28

They are generally worn open and unstitched in such a way that the garment does not reach over one's ankles. Sarong_sentence_29

Other izaars, often imported from Bangladesh, are the traditional clothing of Arab fishermen of the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Sarong_sentence_30

It was the traditional garment for men before the introduction of pant-like pajamas and kaftans during the Turkish and European colonial periods. Sarong_sentence_31

Tube-stitched, as well as open sarongs, are both worn, even informal dishdasha-wearing countries, as casual sleepwear and at home. Sarong_sentence_32

Indian subcontinent Sarong_section_4

Main article: Lungi Sarong_sentence_33


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  • Sarong_item_2_5

Sarongs, very similar to those of South-East Asia and completely different from the Indian subcontinent (excluding Sri Lanka) are widespread – in the state of Manipur, where they are called Phanek and Mekhela in Assam which are very similar to traditional attires of other South-East Asian nations. Sarong_sentence_34

In the South Indian states of Kerala, where they are called mundu (if fully white or fully black) and lungi or kaili if coloured, and Tamil Nadu, where they are called kaili or saaram or vetti or lungi and are usually worn at home. Sarong_sentence_35

A standard lungi measures 2.12 by 1.2 metres. Sarong_sentence_36

Unlike the brightly colored Southeast Asian sarongs, the Kerala variety (the mundu) is more often plain white and is worn for ceremonial or religious purposes. Sarong_sentence_37

In Kerala, the brightly coloured sarongs are called kaily and the white ones are called mundu. Sarong_sentence_38

The more formal, all-white dhoti is worn for formal and religious occasions. Sarong_sentence_39

While there are dresses based on the mundu which can be worn by women, they more commonly wear the sari. Sarong_sentence_40

Sri Lanka Sarong_section_5

Sarongs are very common in Sri Lanka and worn only by men. Sarong_sentence_41

(A similar garment is worn by women. Sarong_sentence_42

However, the women's garment is called "redda", which is wrap-around skirt.) Sarong_sentence_43

It is the standard garment for most men in rural and even some urban communities. Sarong_sentence_44

However, most men of upper social classes (whose public attire is trousers) wear the sarong only as a convenient night garment or only within the confines of the house. Sarong_sentence_45

The Tamil-speaking communities, the Sri Lankan Tamils and the Sri Lankan Moors people also call it Saaram or Chaaram. Sarong_sentence_46

Statistically, the number of people wearing sarong as their primary public attire is on the decline in Sri Lanka; the reason being that the sarong carries the stigma of being the attire for less educated lower social classes. Sarong_sentence_47

However, there is a trend toward adopting sarong as a fashionable garment or as a formal garment worn with national pride, only on special occasions. Sarong_sentence_48

Political and social leaders of Sri Lanka who want to portray their humility and closeness to "common man" and their nationalism, choose a variation of the sarong nicknamed the "national" as their public attire. Sarong_sentence_49

Horn of Africa Sarong_section_6

Sarongs are ubiquitous in Somalia and the Muslim-inhabited areas of the Horn of Africa. Sarong_sentence_50

Although nomadic and urban Somali men have worn them for centuries in the form of a plain white skirt, the colorful macawiis (ma'awiis) sarong, which is the most popular form of the garment in the region, is a relatively recent arrival to Somalia courtesy of trade with the Southeast Asian islands and the Indian subcontinent. Sarong_sentence_51

Before the 1940s, most macawiis were made of cotton. Sarong_sentence_52

However, since the industrialization of the market for sarongs, they now come in many fabrics and combinations thereof, including polyester, nylon and silk. Sarong_sentence_53

Designs vary greatly and range from checkered square motifs with watermarked diamonds and plaid to simple geometric lines. Sarong_sentence_54

The one constant is that they tend to be quite colorful; black macawiis are rare. Sarong_sentence_55

Sarongs in Somalia are worn around the waist and folded several times over to secure their position. Sarong_sentence_56

They are typically sold pre-sewn as one long circular stretch of cloth, though some vendors offer to sew them as a value-added service. Sarong_sentence_57

Southeast Asia Sarong_section_7

Indonesia Sarong_section_8


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In Indonesia sarong is generally known as a kain sarung ("sarong cloth") except for in Bali where it carries the name kamben, possibly etymologically related to kemben (Javanese torso wrap). Sarong_sentence_58

Sarung or sarong is often described as Indonesian skirt; it is a large tube or length of fabric, often wrapped around the waist and worn by men and women throughout much of Indonesian archipelago. Sarong_sentence_59

Sarong is also commonly described as unisex tubular skirt. Sarong_sentence_60

The most common design of Indonesian sarong is woven cloth with checkered motifs, usually used by Muslim men for salah prayer. Sarong_sentence_61

This kind of sarong cloth are stitched together to create a tubular skirt-like lower garment. Sarong_sentence_62

In Bali, sarong are not stitched together as a tube, but remains as a piece of cloth to wrap around the waist and secured with a knot. Sarong_sentence_63

Other than common checkered motifs, other woven or print methods might be employed as sarung; such as batik, ikat, songket, and other kinds of tenun traditional woven clothes. Sarong_sentence_64

Sarongs are used by various ethnic groups in Indonesia. Sarong_sentence_65

They are made from a variety of materials such as cotton, polyester or silk. Sarong_sentence_66

Indonesian women wear traditional costume called kebaya as upper garment, while for lower garment they wear sarongs dyed in the batik method, with flower motifs and in brighter colors. Sarong_sentence_67

However, in Javanese culture, the wearing of batik sarung is not restricted to women on formal occasions such as weddings. Sarong_sentence_68

In 2019, in an effort to promote and popularize sarong among its people, the government encouraged Indonesians to wear sarong in public at least once a month. Sarong_sentence_69

President Joko Widodo said the sarong is a significant element of Indonesian culture and that wearing it will be a sign of appreciation for sarong craftsmen. Sarong_sentence_70

Malaysia Sarong_section_9

In Malaysia, sarong is known as a kain, kain pelikat, kain sarung, kain tenun, kain batik, or kain samping (specialized sarong worn by men with Baju Melayu). Sarong_sentence_71

In the Malaysian state of Sarawak, it is called sabok (for men) and tapeh (for women). Sarong_sentence_72

Philippines Sarong_section_10

Main articles: Tapis, Patadyong, and Malong Sarong_sentence_73


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Sarong from the Philippines are generally known as tapis in Luzon, alampay in the Cordilleran highlands, patadyong in the islands of Visayas and Sulu, and malong in Mindanao. Sarong_sentence_74

They are worn by both men and women and can be rectangular or tube-like. Sarong_sentence_75

They can be knee-length or ankle-length and come in various colors that are usually unique to the specific ethnic group that wove them. Sarong_sentence_76

Among men, the skirt is usually drawn up and tied at the waist (like a dhoti), forming a trouser-like clothing known as a salawal. Sarong_sentence_77

They can also serve as shawls or blankets. Sarong_sentence_78

They were paired with close-fitting shirts or jackets known as baro or bayu. Sarong_sentence_79

Among the Maranao people, the malong is featured in the folk dance kapa malong malong which shows the various ways that the malong can be utilized. Sarong_sentence_80

During the Spanish colonial era, the tapis was worn over a longer Spanish skirt (saya or falda) due to the shortness of the tapis being deemed too immodest by the Spanish clergy to be worn alone. Sarong_sentence_81

It evolved over time to become part of the traditional Filipino dress for women, the baro't saya. Sarong_sentence_82

Western world Sarong_section_11

In North and South America as well as Europe, hip wraps are worn as beach wear or as a cover-up over swimwear. Sarong_sentence_83

The wrap is often made of a thin, light fabric, often rayon, and may feature decorative fringing on both sides. Sarong_sentence_84

They may have ties, which are long thin straps of fabric which the wearer can tie together to prevent the wrap from falling down. Sarong_sentence_85

These wraps are mostly worn by women as beach cover ups and do not usually resemble traditional Asian or African sarongs in size, pattern or design. Sarong_sentence_86

Western men who wear male sarongs are influenced by the Scottish kilt or lava-lava within the Polynesian or Samoan culture. Sarong_sentence_87

Typically sarongs are worn by men when they are at home or at the beach or as a cover up on a nude beach or by the pool or on a cruise. Sarong_sentence_88

Securing Sarong_section_12

Numerous tying methods exist to hold a sarong to the wearer's body. Sarong_sentence_89

In some cases, these techniques customarily differ according to the sex of wearer. Sarong_sentence_90

If a sarong has ties, they may be used to hold it in place. Sarong_sentence_91

Sarong ties give the wearer a little extra hold and security. Sarong_sentence_92

If no ties exist, a pin may be used, the fabric may be tightly tucked under itself in layers, the corners of the main sheet may be around the body and knotted, or a belt may be used to hold the sarong in place. Sarong_sentence_93

Similar garments Sarong_section_13

The basic garment known in English most often as a "sarong", sewn or unsewn, has analogs in many regions, where it shows variations in style and is known by different names. Sarong_sentence_94


  • AfricaSarong_item_5_13
    • In East Africa, it is called either a kanga (worn by African women), or a kikoy, traditionally worn by men and used with much simpler designs, however, it is used more frequently in high fashion. Kangas are brightly coloured lengths of cotton that incorporate elaborate and artistic designs and usually include the printing of a Swahili proverb along the hem.Sarong_item_5_14
    • In Madagascar it is called a lamba.Sarong_item_5_15
    • In Malawi it is called a chitenje.Sarong_item_5_16
    • In Somalia it is called a Macawis or Hoosgunti.Sarong_item_5_17
    • In Mauritius they are called pareos.Sarong_item_5_18
    • In Mozambique it is called a capulana.Sarong_item_5_19
    • In South Africa it is called a kikoi and commonly used as a furniture throw or for going to the beach.Sarong_item_5_20
    • In Zambia they are known as chitenge.Sarong_item_5_21


  • BrazilSarong_item_6_22
    • "Kangas" or "cangas" are used in Brazil as swimwear by women. Those are readily available at beaches and littoral cities, but are also found in shops in the countryside for swimming in pools or rivers.Sarong_item_6_23



  • Indian subcontinentSarong_item_8_27
    • In South India it is called a lungi. It is most often sewn into a large cylindrical shape, so there is no slit when the phanek or lungi is tied.Sarong_item_8_28
    • In eastern India and Bangladesh it is known as a lungi.Sarong_item_8_29
    • In Northeastern India traditional clothing are the Phanek in Manipur and Mekhela in Assam which are very similar to the traditional attires of other South-East Asian nations and are completely different from the Indian subcontinent.Sarong_item_8_30
    • In South India it is called Veetti in Tamil, pancha in Telugu, panche in Kannada, and Mundu in Malayalam.Sarong_item_8_31
    • In the southernmost districts of Tamil Nadu, it is also known as Chaaram, possibly influenced from Sri Lanka from the trading daysSarong_item_8_32
    • In the Maldives, and Indian state of Kerala, it is known as a mundu, feyli or neriyathu.Sarong_item_8_33
    • In Punjab it is a called Chadra.Sarong_item_8_34
    • In Sri Lanka it is called Saram in Tamil, and Sarama in Sinhalese.Sarong_item_8_35



  • Sarong_item_10_37
    • In Cambodia it is used as an alternative to sampot.Sarong_item_10_38
    • In Laos and Isan (northwestern Thailand), it is called a Sinh (Lao: ສິ້ນ, Thai: ซิ่น), also sarong as well.Sarong_item_10_39
    • In Malaysia it is known as a kain, kain pelikat, kain sarung, kain tenun, kain batik, or kain sampin (specialised sarong worn by men with Baju Melayu). In Malaysian state of Sarawak, it is called sabok (for men) and tapeh (for women).Sarong_item_10_40
    • In Myanmar, it is known as a longyi.Sarong_item_10_41
    • In the Philippines it is generally known as malong (in Mindanao), patadyong (in Visayas and the Sulu Archipelago), and tapis (in Luzon). It can function as a skirt for both men and women, a turban, Niqab, Hijab, a dress, a blanket, a sunshade, a bedsheet, a "dressing room", a hammock, a prayer mat, and other purposes. During the Spanish colonial period, it evolved into a distinctive outer covering of the skirt for the baro't saya.Sarong_item_10_42
    • In Thailand, it is known as a pha khao ma (Thai: ผ้าขาวม้า) for men and a pha thung (Thai: ผ้าถุง) for women.Sarong_item_10_43


In the media Sarong_section_14

The American public is most familiar with the sarong for the dozens of films set in the South Seas, most of them romantic dramas made in the 1930s and 1940s. Sarong_sentence_95

Dorothy Lamour is by far the actress most linked with the garment, which was designed by Edith Head. Sarong_sentence_96

Lamour starred in multiple films of this genre, starting with The Hurricane in 1937. Sarong_sentence_97

In fact, Lamour was nicknamed "The Sarong Girl" by the press and even wore a sarong on occasion in more traditional films. Sarong_sentence_98

Among the other actresses to don the sarong for film roles are Maria Montez, Gilda Gray, Myrna Loy, Gene Tierney, Frances Farmer and Movita. Sarong_sentence_99

Male stars who wore the manly sarongs on film include Jon Hall, Ray Milland, Tyrone Power, Robert Preston and Sabu Dastagir, as well as Ralph Fiennes in The Constant Gardener and Pierce Brosnan in The Thomas Crown Affair. Sarong_sentence_100

The 2005 documentary film Soldiers in Sarong, directed by Lokendra Arambam, depicts the women's resistance movement in Manipur, North-East India. Sarong_sentence_101

The 2020 Indonesian film depicts a martial arts tradition where combatants are joined together by the garment. Sarong_sentence_102

In Singapore, the term Sarong Party Girl refers to a local single Singaporean woman especially of Chinese ethnicity who favor socializing and having relationships with expatriate Caucasian men rather than the local ones. Sarong_sentence_103

See also Sarong_section_15


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