Traditional weddings in Mali are not far fetched from the conventional way West African wedding events are being held. Largely influenced by the Islamic religion, traditional weddings in Mali are fascinating sight of love and splendor to really behold.
Malian weddings involve various important customs and celebrations spread out through a number of days. Known for their inveterate love for the fashion, Malian people are very rich in colors, cultures, and accounts for nothing less than 20 ethnic groups.
The major wedding attire in Mali is called bazin, (sometimes referred to as boubou for men). This fabric is handmade as it is a dyed polished cotton, which is popularly characterized by its glow.
Display of wealthiness, the boubou is a masterpiece of the Malian traditional attire. Also called kaftan, this outfit can be carved as either in “bazin” or in “bogolan”. It is always composed of a set consisting of trousers and a tunic. A long robe is then worn above the set.
There are two types of bazin/boubou: rich and basic, which are formal and informal. The bazin/boubou rich is the most expensive fabric that is usually reserved for bigger occasions which are typically worn formally. The basic bazin/boubou on the other hand is worn every day on a more informal basis. The bazin/boubou is worn to many different occasions. The bazin is popular for its decorative fundamental embroidery that makes its elegant designs to be appealing. They generally do come in different designs, which is embroidered by a tailor using either a pedal driven or electric sewing machine.
The bazin/boubou are sewed differently for men and women. Often times, the men boubou consists of three different pieces of fabric that are of the same color. A tie up trouser, a long sleeve chemise, and a wide open- embroidered sleeveless gown that is worn over everything.
In the case of women, the bazin is sewn in a three-piece albeit, but it often comes with a wrapper being typically tied around the waist, a blouse, and a headscarf.
However, the bride is expected to wear the best quality of bazin rich designed just for her for the traditional and religious wedding, while she dresses in a white modern gown for her civil wedding. For the groom, he dresses in white boubou for the traditional and religious wedding and wears a suit for the civil wedding.
The adornment of Malian women is incomplete without the beautification of jewelry. They take so much pride in their jewelry, especially during weddings. To match on well with their expensive embroidered bazin outfits, they wear gold necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. This is because gold symbolizes wealth, money, and prestige between Malian women. Generally, these women hold weddings as the perfect occasion to get emblazoned with an expensive tapestry and gold jewelry.
Notably, the bazin riche is famous for its bright, bold hues, and luxurious feel, little wonder that it is a mother textile material for other party attires.
Bazin riche fabric is known to dance with movement, its lustrous shine creating intrigue with each sway.
The bogolan is a tissue of cotton, which can be thicker or thinner, hand-spun and heavy to wear. The term bogolan originates from the bambara, the most common language in Mali: "bogo" means earth and "lan" means " comes from". This fabric also the tissue and the dyeing technique. The bogolan is often found in small coupons of 5 to 10 cm, which were assembled by hand to make large loincloths. They can then be cut by tailors with loincloths of several meters to facilitate the sharing and the making of boubous.
Today, Bamako, the capital city of Mali is regarded as the world capital of boubou. The tissues of damask cotton, the bazin, are dyed in Bamako. The fabrics tinted by thousands of colors adorn the city streets wonderfully. This upscale tissue gives the symbol of fluency and elegance, so much that rich and poor are competing to obtain the most beautiful. Hub of the bazin, Bamako chiefly exports throughout Africa the tissues charged with colors, in order to beautify the continent with its true skills.