Senegalese Traditional Wedding Styles2

Senegalese Traditional Wedding Styles

The population of the world is constituted by an array of cultural groupings and ethnicities.
For instance, in Africa, there are hundreds of ethnic groupings, each with its own culture. 
However, there have been an increasing concerns raised over the authenticity of today’s cultures, for as the world continues to open up due to phenomena such as globalization, many cultures have been waning and becoming a hybrid of several cultures. This narrative is however evident among the Wolof people, who occupy the largest ethnicity in Senegal.
When it comes to traditional wedding in Senegal, the idea is a stone-thrown similarity with other countries like Mali and Mauritania, in terms of their dressing.


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In Senegal, boubou is the commonly worn attire for traditional weddings. This is a wide, light garment in wax or bazin, pleasant to wear. Historically, the linguistic origin suggests that in contrast to borrowed dress styles, like the Arab caftan and the European suit, the boubou, as Senegalese people say, has always been Senegalese. 
Senegalese Traditional Wedding Styles1
Regarded as the centerpiece of classic dress in Senegal and neighboring francophone countries, the boubou is representative of the symbolic position of the most basic garment in other cultures, comparable in this respect to blue jeans in American culture. Just like blue jeans, the Senegalese grand boubou garners to itself a multiplicity of contradictory uses and meanings. Broadly, it can connote sexiness or modesty and it can also attain the height of elegance or serve a utilitarian purpose.

At Senegalese traditional wedding, the stiffly starched, embroidered boubou, dropping gracefully off one’s shoulder and perfumed with incense, can be worn with high heels, gold jewelry, a starched matching head scarf tied in a rakish knot, and dramatic makeup. This is usually how the bride adorn herself during wedding. However, this is also the outfit of the Dirriankhe, a woman who fulfills the Senegalese ideal of seductive beauty, as she is large, sensuous, and conveys the mystique of independence and wealth. She must have indeed mastered the art of wearing the boubou.
Men wear a large boubou which consists of a tunic, pants and a boubou over it. It measures between 9 and 12 meters and the neck is triangular. For the women, the boubou consists of a wide tunic that is open at the sides, with a large round neckline that tends to slide over the shoulder. They also have a loincloth and a scarf called “moussor.” Indeed, the moussor is a headscarf that each form carries in several ways.

Primarily, boubou is a very rich garment that can be made with wax fabric, bazin, or cotton. Its embroidery can be simple or detailed at the neckline, back or pockets for male boubous. Also, the finishes are always of great qualities. Basically, what makes boubou is the fabric and the embroidery. The most expensive boubou is made in Damask Bazin.
Long time ago, boubou used to be sewn and hand-embroidered in a traditional way, but today, time is saved in making the dress through the use of sewing machine. There is actually a wide variety of loincloth, hence, it can be long or short, embroidered or embroidered, simple and colorful.
However, the traditional boubou can be recreated with a modern style to suit the glamorous taste of the occasion.
The boubou is made by folding the fabric in half, fashioning a neck opening, and sewing the sides halfway up to make flowing sleeves. For women, the neck is large and rounded; for men, it forms a long V-shape, usually with a large five-sided pocket cutting off the tip of the "V."

During traditional wedding in Senegal, the boubou creates for the bride and groom the appearance of a stately, elegant poise with majestic height and presence.
The man wears the classic boubou with a matching shirt and trousers underneath, while the woman wears it with a matching wrapper or pagne and head-tie.
Senegalese Traditional Wedding Styles4
Often times, Senegalese people generally wear a boubou in a complete manner, in what is called “grand and complete boubou”. This is a three-piece suit; a tunic, trousers, and a boubou which will go on top of the suit. A complete traditional senegalese suit will need from 9 to 12 meters of fabric.
With its simplicity and class, Senegalese boubou is divided into two types; simple and rich. If the fabric and embroidery are simple without extra particularities, boubou will be called “simple”. It is generally worn by lower income people and is made in wax or cotton. Meanwhile, if the fabric and embroidery are rich, details and finishes of the sewing are made with good quality, the boubou will be referred to as “rich”. Bazin and damask made, with an expensive cost, it will worn at great circumstances.  

Various Fabrics Of Boubou

Damask Bazin
This is the favorite fabric of western Africa people. The more it shines, the more Senegalese people will like it. The term Bazin comes from the Italian word “bamagia”, which means cotton battings. There are three kinds of Bazin:

1. The rich Bazin, which is the first grade quality with a highest quality of 100 cotton guarantee. When this is dyed, it gives an exceptional brightness.

2. Bazin made in China, which costs half the price of the first one.

3. The less rich Bazin, which appeared in the 1980s. With a clearly inferior quality, the Chinese damask Bazin, sold four times less expensive than the rich one, is now affordable for everybody.

The wax is coined from the English term which means a shiny substance of fat. This is peculiar with its dying on both sides, on a wax basis process.

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