In India and within Hindu culture, the history of the sari is a rich one, dating back to the time of the Vedas. There are many cultural and symbolic variations in the ways a sari is worn, from the way it is pleated to its color.
Women born within the Brahmic caste commonly wear white unadorned saris to denote spiritual purity because Brahmin believe any form of dying is impure. White saris are often worn to ritual events like attending puja ceremonies. It is also associated with mourning, and widows in India are seen wearing white saris.
Red saris are the traditional choice for wedding gowns as red symbolizes fertility and is considered an auspicious color for young brides. Wedding saris are especially ornate, embellished with fine hand embroidery, glass beads, and gold thread woven into the fabric. These intricately woven saris are almost always made of silk.
Blue is a color avoided by the upper classes of India as the process of fermentation used to create indigo dye is also considered impure. In fact, it’s unusual to see any Indian woman donning a blue sari.
Yellow and ochre are associated with sadhus and those who have renounced their birth caste or family to pursue a spiritual life seeking liberation from cyclical rebirth.