South Sudan is a Northeastern African country beginning to emerge and cultivate its own very culture after falling out of the mother country, Sudan. South Sudan’s population, predominantly African cultures who tend to adhere to Christian or animist beliefs, has its nation capital in Juba.
Due to the climatic features of the country, the way of life, including dressing has really been influenced to the teeth. That is why the traditional dressing style for weddings in the country is just an appropriate loose-fitting long attires which cover most of the body. These dresses and robes are made of light natural fabrics.
The traditional outfit for weddings in South Sudan consists of a long, loose-fitting white or pastel-colored robe (called “jellabiya”), a headdress (a skullcap or a turban), and shoes.
The jellabiya is a loose-fitting, traditional garment that took its origin from the Nile Valley of Egypt, but also traditionally worn in South Sudan. This style is beautifully worn by both men and women. The jellabiya is ankle-length collarless robe with long sleeves. Mostly it is light-colored, but sometimes it can be brown as well.
The distinct difference of jellabiya from the thobe is its wider cut, no close with longer, wider sleeves.
Jellabiya is often worn in summer and are mostly white in color. This attire is traditionally worn with turban in emulation of the prophet Muhammed (PBUH). The South Sudanese turban is exceptionally long in comparison to other groups that wear it.
The traditional South Sudanese shoe is known as the Marquinhos, and it’s often made out of leather or crocodile skin, which is abundant in the Nile region.
For the South Sudanese women, they hold their traditional outfit in high esteem. This is because it shows the status, social class, belonging to a clan or tribe and gender. Girls wear their first thawb at the age of 12. It is however considered appropriate for a woman to have at least several toobs for different occasions: shopping, work, visiting friends, wedding etc.
Due to Islamic tradition, women cover their body with a thawb and other clothing. They leave only feet, palms (or sometimes arms to the elbow) and face uncovered.
In South Sudan, brides are sometimes traditionally accustomed to wear red wedding gowns, which is composed of a thobe and a shawl. But, today, some exposed South Sudanese brides are often seen in Western-style white dresses, but originally be in red with gold.
A thobe is an ankle-length attire, usually with long sleeves that is similar to a robe, kaftan, or tunic. Although it is commonly worn in Arab countries and some countries in East and West Africa, but it is a regular traditional wedding dress in South Sudan. On wearing this outfit, a sirwal or pants are normally worn underneath. Thobes have become a staple of trendy fashion as South Sudanese women often express their growing opportunities and desires through the fashionable dress. Also, a thobe can sometimes be worn with a bisht. Originally made from Syria, Iraq, and Jordan, a bisht is representative of status of wealth and wealth as it is worn specially on occasions like traditional wedding ceremonies. It can be made from cotton, satin, polyester, jersey, denim and other fabrics.
A thawb can be of any color, can have various patterns on fabric. A thawb can be very colorful and beautiful. Though, elder women prefer white thawbs, and youth mostly wears multicolor toobs, often with accessories. Expensive thawbs often are embellished with embroidery, stitch-work, rhinestones and other decorative elements.
Furthermore, a shawl is an Indian simple item of fabric loosely worn over the shoulders, upper body and arms, and sometimes also over the head. A shawl is usually a rectangular or square piece of cloth, which can also be folded to make a triangle, Its other varying shapes can be in triangular or other shapes that include oblong shawls.
Shawls are worn in order to keep warm and to complement a costume for many symbolic reasons. Its floral design appears in a heavy, close embroidery-like weave in dull silk or soft pashmina, meaning woolen. Meanwhile, it usually comprises small or large flowers delicately sprayed and combined; some shawls do have net-like patterns with floral ensemble motifs in them.
Often than not, South Sudanese culture in most cases blend shawls of various types into their national folk dress, mainly because the relatively unstructured shawls were much more commonly used in earlier times.
The Kashmir shawl is typical of elaborate designs, in which the "cone" pattern is a prominent feature, and by the glowing harmony, brilliance, depth, and enduring qualities of its colors.