Baju Bodo, The Oldest Traditional Clothes

Baju Bodo

Baju Bodo is traditional clothing belonging to the Bugis people in South Sulawesi. Previously, these clothes were only worn for certain occasions such as wedding ceremonies or other important events. This traditional clothes is also considered as the oldest dress in the world because it was first discovered in the 9th century.

History of Baju Bodo

Bodo clothes are said to be the oldest clothes in the world. The clothes made of woven cloth have been worn by the Bugis people since the 9th century to attend important events such as traditional ceremonies and weddings. However, the international community only recognized this dress in the 18th century when many European nobles used clothes made of cotton fiber.

Bodo itself in Bugis language means short. This is because authentic Baju Bodo are designed to use short sleeves. The use of cotton as the basic material for bodo clothes also makes this dress model a little transparent so that it shows the curves of the wearer’s body.

However, as Islam developed in South Sulawesi, this traditional dress model was adapted to Islamic law.  The sleeves are made long and then also accompanied by a matching colored underwear.  Do not forget, the silk sheath attached to cover the lower body.

Baju Bodo

The Philosophy of Baju Bodo Color

For the record, this dress is usually worn by women.  Therefore, the philosophy attached to the color of clothes is also related to the status of women in society. For example, the color pink is worn by girls aged 10-14 years. In the Bugis language, pink is called Bakka which means half cooked.

The next color is orange. The color is generally worn by women aged 14-17 years. The use of bodo clothes at this age is usually also layered to cover the breasts of women who have started to grow.  The orange color also symbolizes the period at this age which is likened to still ripe.

The red color Baju Bodo is usually worn by women aged 17-25 years. This color is intended for women who are not married or are married but do not have children. Red here symbolizes menstrual blood which is a symbol that women are adults.

Another color is a green Baju Bodo. This color is specifically used for Bugis aristocrats. In the Bugis language, green means horse, which symbolizes respect for the royal family. For a woman who is a widow, either because of divorce or the death of her husband, the color that is intended for her is purple.

The white color is used by caregivers, maids, and shamans which symbolizes holiness and the supernatural. Women over the age of 25 to 40 years usually wear black. Children wear yellow clothes which symbolizes joy.  The yellow color in the Bugis language is also called Waju Pella-pella. Pella-pella means a butterfly where it always flies and is cheerful like a child’s world.

However, currently the use of Baju Bodo is more flexible. This means that anyone is free to wear this traditional dress in any color regardless of their age and status in society. Its use is also often accompanied by jewelry knick-knacks such as bracelets, necklaces, rings, and so on.

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