The Gambia is the smallest country in the African continent, though it surely does not lack any slender or rich history. The Gambia has a strong sense of culture and rich tradition. With its majority-Muslim population, these traditions are highly regarded by many in the country, and are still practiced today.
The Gambia has long been home to several different ethnic groups who have so much maintained their individual cultural traditions; as such, the country has a rich heritage. Gambia is noted for its indigo-dyed cloth in particular.
The traditional kind of clothing for Gambian women and men tends to be long and free flowing clothes. For women they tend to wear clothes down to their feet as well as up to their wrists. This is called a grandmuba which comes with an under garment called a malan, and which is a couple of meters of cloth wrapped around the waist as an underskirt.
Gambian traditional wedding is always a very simple occasion.
At public events like traditional weddings, Gambian women are often seen in traditional garb, which is composed of blouse and skirt from usually brightly colored fabric, with head wraps than in Western wear. Except for corporate reasons, there is always an African flare of fashion at Gambians traditional occasions with an ambience of cultural display of African clothing made from beautifully colored and embroidered fabric, sometimes interwoven with strands of glimmering threads.For the Muslim faithfuls, many men tend to wear the Kaftan (pronounced Haftan) which is worn in a very similar way to the grandmuba. It is a full-dress, ankle-length, long-sleeve clothing which is also known as the ‘fataro,’ ‘jalabe,’ or ‘shabado’. However, a variation of this is the three-piece suit called ‘nyeti abdu’ which comes with trousers called a ‘chaya’ or the ‘waramba’. This dress type for men is very embroidered in elaborate gold colored thread on the chest area and sometimes at the end of the sleeves and back area.
This male attire is topped off with a skull cap, which is also usually embroidered in elaborate designs along the rim. Meanwhile, one of the most notable things about Gambian men’s fashion style is the color choice of the clothing. While few American males would feel comfortable in magenta or baby violet, clothing for men is perfectly acceptable in any color in The Gambia, pastels and all shades of pink not withstanding.
Often than not, Gambian brides and grooms are always donned in an all white attire that commands simplicity and elegance. Nowadays, couples, especially the non Muslims are opting for more brighter colors, like red, blue, and cream. The groom rocks in grand boubou (agbada), while the bride gives herself some sense of adorable fashion statement, either in a gown or boubou and wrapper. Gambian brides are not too fascinated with using much jewelry at their big day.
Before such clothing can be worn it is usually waxed and beaten with wooden mallets to create a stiff shiny cloth.
Typically, Gambian life ranges from the growing of cotton to the colors and patterns and their social significance to the methods of conserving fabric.