May 8, 2008

Kroma - Khmer Scarf

Most Cambodians dress up casually except when they are attending formal events. It is common to see men and women using Krama, a Long, Narrow checked cotton cloth round their neck. The krama is just like a piece of clothe. Lightweight, loose-fitting, cotton clothing is recommended and long-sleeved items should be included for protection from mosquitoes and the sun. During the rainy season an umbrella is more convenient than a rain coast. A jacket may be needed in hotels and restaurants using excessive air-conditioning.
Beneath the warm Cambodian sun, a person's productivity relies heavily upon the suitability of one's dress. Since little is accomplished in blisteringly hot clothes, Khmer people for generations have tied kromas around their waists to work and play in cool comfort. The Khmer scarf, woven from cotton or silk, has been a fashion staple since Ancient times. While some claim the thin cloth, wrapped around one's head or neck, is used primarily to wipe the sweat from a hot face, others say wearing a kroma is as 'Khmer' as wearing a necktie is American.Srey Yar Savdy, head of the Buddhist Institute's Mores and Tradition Department in Phnom Penh said that the kroma has had a home in Cambodia since the first century reign of Preah Bath Hun Tean. It is not clear when exactly the kroma hit the streets, but it has been a symbol of the Khmer kingdom and its people ever since.
"Nowadays, people are more particular and they like to have some quality instead of the less expensive kroma they used to use," said Channavy, the co-manager of a small weaving business. She said the demands of discerning customers have compelled her to prepare her loom with greater care in order to meticulously spin the cotton thread into a bobbin.


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