Senegalese kaftan

A Senegalese kaftan or caftan is a pullover men's robe with long bell sleeves. In the Wolof language, this robe is called a "sabador", in French it is called a "boubou " (pronounced boo-boo). This style of robe originated in Senegal. The length of the robe is usually ankle length. It is worn with matching pants called "sokoto". Normally made of cotton brocade, lace, or synthetic fabrics, these robes are common throughout West Africa. The former President of Sierra Leone, Ahmed Kabbah, was often photographed wearing a kaftan. A kaftan and matching pants is called a kaftan suit. The kaftan suit is worn with a kufi cap. Another robe that is occasionally seen in West Africa is the short-sleeved Moroccan kaftan, also called a thawb, thobe, or dishdasha. These kaftans are used as pajamas or lounge wear. In the home, they are worn on top of underwear. Although widely worn, they are not formal attire in any West African country. In contrast, Senegalese kaftans are used as formal wear. Hausa men wear these kaftans to formal events like naming ceremonies and weddings. In the United States, a Senegalese kaftan is one of three formal suits, see tuxedo, that African-American grooms select for their weddings. The other styles being the dashiki pant set, and the grand boubou, pronounced "gran boo-boo". There are various other robes that are worn throughout West Africa, and with the exception of the Yoruba Gbarie robe, most of these are a form of Islamic dress, see sartorial hijab. The Senegalese and Moroccan kaftans are worn by Christians, Muslims, and followers of African traditional religion. Furthermore, they are common among men of African descent in the African diaspora.

Wedding attire

A white kaftan suit is normally worn for weddings. The bride's attire should be the same color as the groom's suit. In popular culture, a groom wears a lace kaftan suit in the Nollywood movie, "Traditional Marriage".

hortening a Moroccan kaftan

Moroccan kaftans are purchased according to chest size. A few merchants sell pre-hemmed robes, but most do not. As a result, most Moroccan kaftans have to be shortened after purchasing. There are two methods used. First, some men hem the robe with a needle and thread. Second, others use an iron on hem, which is also called hem tape. Hem tape is sold in the notions or sewing section of any major department store. Put the robe on, fold the bottom inward, and pin the fold at the desired length. Take the robe off, turn inside out. Put the robe on the ironing board, and place the hem tape in between the fold. Slowly iron each section. Use a ruler to ensure that the hem is the same length around. Iron until done. As with all African attire, it is best to hand wash kaftans and air dry.

ee also

*dashiki
*boubou (clothing)
*isiagu
*kufi
*kaftan (boubou)
*Wolof people
*Hausa people

External links

*A wedding in Senegal [http://www.stjoan.com/feature2/gleason.htm]
*Photos of Senegalese men's attire [http://www.senegalview.com/MensAttire.html]
*Photos of a Hausa wedding [http://www2.ku.edu/~hausa/materials/celeb/page01.html]
*Photos of Eid in Brooklyn, New York [http://www.flickr.com/photos/86681342@N00/sets/72157600260930911/]
*This controversial Nigerian film, "Christian Marriage", features men wearing kaftans. [http://www.allafricanmovies.com/movie_details.php?mid=462]
*A white kaftan suit [http://www.africaimports.com/itemdesc.asp?CartId={0210D6EF-4561-4616-8FEVEREST84-DBBFF3E9AF67}&ic=C%2DU110&eq=&Tp=]
*Kaftan suit examples [http://dupsies.com/Dstore/african-dashiki-senegalese-style-dashiki-c-25_96.html?tjid=b1c9da808dbb0ae09dbcb7283787f18e]
*A Moroccan kaftan [http://modestycatalog.com/product_info.php?products_id=307]
*A traditional Moroccan kaftan [http://www.alhannah.com/products/me504.html]
*This kaftan was made in Morocco [http://alhannah.com/products/me463.html]

Further reading

Michael Palin, "Sahara" (Thomas Dunne Books 2003), p. 77-191. A DVD was also produced showing his travels in Morocco, Senegal, Mali, and Niger.


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