Wedding traditions in African continent behold some of the oldest rituals in the world; after all it is the oldest continent on the planet. However, many of these traditions can be attributed to religion, culture, and ethnicity.
African countries like Chad is where the spirit of these rituals can be found.
Chad is a vast, diverse country made up of over 180 ethnic groups that mainly don a traditional dress.The largest groups are the Sara, who inhabit the subtropical regions to the south, and the Arabs, who are primarily Muslim. Many people are nomads or subsistence farmers, although some live in the urban areas of N'Djamena. All of these factors, from ethnicity to religion to occupation chiefly sum up to the dressing culture of the country.
At traditional events like weddings, Muslim women do dress in modesty in head-to-toe robes
Because of their religious beliefs, Muslim women usually dress modestly in head-to-toe robes, while the non Muslim women wear wraps called rabott or pagne around their upper and lower halves. This is always added with a short-sleeved shirt with an elaborately patterned neckline. A 5-meter-long scarf called ‘lafai’ can be wrapped around the body in many different ways, and women put them for special occasions like traditional wedding.
For the men, like the Muslim faithfuls, traditional Chadian Arab attire such as long robes called jalabiyas are worn along with white turban-like headgear known as a tagiya. Muslim men wear outfits consisting of long robes with matching pants known as boubous, and in the southern tribes, they wear tunic outfits called complets.
Pagne is the textile commonly worn at traditional weddings. This can be tailored to make a boubou or kaftan and dashiki for the couple. This clothing designates a certain cut, usually two by six yards and double-sided wax prints of cotton textile. This is mostly found in Francophone West and Central Africa. Although its usage and pattern may connote some social and economic meaning for the person wearing it, but it is similar in size, expected pattern, and usage to the Khanga, Chitenge or Kikoy of East and Southern Africa.
The kaftan or boubou is worn gracefully by the bride with a colorful pattern and beautiful design to take the center of attention stage on the big day of wedding. Often times, the bride’s kaftan is the same color as the groom’s dashiki. Although the traditional traditional wedding color for West Africa is white, but most popular non-traditional color is purple or lavender, the color of African royalty. Blue color is also adorned in as it symbolizes love.
The boubou type for men can also be in kaftan or dashiki styles. The dashiki is a colorful garment worn mostly in West Africa. It is otherwise called Kitenge in East Africa and has been a dominant wear in Tanzania and later Kenya and Somalia. This outfit covers the top half of the body. Although it has both formal and informal versions, its fashion statement varies from simple draped clothing to fully tailored suits. The common style is a loose-fitting pullover garment, with an ornate V-shaped collar, and tailored and embroidered neck and sleeve lines. The dressing is most times complemented with a brimless Kufi cap and pants.
The informal type of the dashiki is defined with a traditional print or embroidered dashiki. There is however three formal types of dashiki. The first type consists of a dashiki, sokoto (drawstring trousers), and a matching kufi. This style is called a dashiki suitor dashiki trouser set. This is mostly the attire worn by grooms during wedding ceremonies. The second on the other hand consists of an ankle-length shirt, matching kufi, and sokoto and is called a Senegalese kaftan. The third type consists of a dashiki and matching trousers. A flowing gown is often worn over these. This type is called a grand boubou or an agbada.
Also, there are several different styles of dashiki suits available that Chadian couple can go for. The type of shirt included in the set determines the name. The traditional dashiki suit includes a thigh-length shirt. The short sleeve, traditional style is preferred by purists. Basically, a long dashiki suit includes a shirt that is knee-length or longer.
Grey is the chief traditional color of dashiki for some West African weddings, nevertheless, some grooms prefer wearing white dashiki suits during wedding ceremonies.