Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Love Around the World with Iyana Jenna

Iyana Jenna shares the traditions and history of Indonesian dress on Love Around the World with Evernight Authors! Take us away, Iyana!

First of all, I’d like to say how happy I am that Evernight Publishing has this blog feature to welcome the Winter Olympic. The focus here is not the winter itself but the diversity of the cultures around the world. My country, Indonesia, has never joined the Winter Olympic mostly because we don’t have winter (though that shouldn’t be an excuse, really), but I’m more than happy to share an aspect from my culture. I’d like to talk about kebaya.

Now, what is kebaya and why do I choose to discuss it? Well, the talk among my fellow authors was about sexy and I thought, what could be sexier than kebaya when it comes to Indonesia? ;)

Kebaya is a traditional costume for women in my country. It’s originally from Java but its modified styles can be found all over Indonesia, as well as in other countries in the South-east Asia, such as Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. It’s, however, been declared as our national costume.

Kebaya consists of two pieces, a blouse and a long dress. The blouse is usually made from soft materials, such as silk or thin cotton, and it is adorned by lovely embroidery. The dress is from batik long cloth or sarong, or other traditional kinds of traditional cloths, such as ikat or songket. Both pieces can be very colorful with different motifs. The design of kebaya is usually tight and fit the body of the wearer, which makes the woman look totally sexy in it.

The word ‘kebaya’ was said to come from the Arabic word ‘kaba’ that means clothing. It was then introduced to Indonesia through the Portuguese language. (For those interested in Indonesian history, the Portuguese once occupied this country in the 16th century.) Back to kebaya, this clothing dated back to the 15th century and in the past, only women coming from the royal family wore it. At that time, many female commoners went bare-chested or simply covered their chest with a piece of cloth. Soon kebaya spread to other places and islands, such as Bali, Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, and the countries around Indonesia.

Right now, kebaya is worn only for special occasions and not something you wear every day. Little girls usually wear kebaya at school on National Kartini Day to commemorate our heroine, RA Kartini. Kebaya is an obligatory costume for female graduates on the graduation day. As a national costume, kebaya is a must for the national ceremonies at the presidential palace, such as on our Independence Day. The female flight attendants of our flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia, also wear a modern kind of kebaya as their uniform. One more thing, kebaya makes a gorgeous wedding gown!

So, what do you think? Interested in having your own kebaya? Come over to my country and I’ll take you to visit some kebaya boutiques. :)

Iyana Jenna is the author of M/M stories in our Romance on the Go line, including An Omega's Fate.

 Luca Fiore loses his husband while expecting their child. The only thing left on Luca’s mind is to end his life.

Going home late from work, Ethan James spots someone standing at the edge of the bridge. Knowing what was about to take place, Ethan jumps out of the car, fully intent on stopping a man from killing himself.

As Alpha, Ethan hasn't mated. He never expected to fall for a pregnant omega, but a single look at Luca and Ethan knows he'll never want anybody else. He just has to wait for the right time to claim Luca as his.

Be Warned: m/m sex, bondage

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