The Traditional Xhosa Wedding Dresses are usually ankle length traditional dresses with a modern touch.
Just like any other African or Western culture, the Umakoti, (bride), is the center of attraction during a Xhosa Wedding ceremony. How she looks is of particular importance to the days' proceedings because she has to meet traditional symbolism and look exquisitely good to outshine every other woman in the ceremony. These are 5 of the commonly worn dresses by a bride during a wedding ceremony.
The Xhosa Traditional Wedding dress is usually made from Umbhaco.
The dress constricts at the waist and thighs, thus bringing out the brides curves quite well. It then flares out from the second constriction to the ankle. The bride covers her shoulder with beads, which cover most of her upper region. The attire also comes with a tartan blanket that will be used to cover the shoulder. To complete the attire, the bride wraps her head with a white and black head wrap that not only complements her dress but also satisfy culture’s demands.
Xhosa Makoti clothing items and what they represent:
- Black Doek:
- Covering the head with the black doek is a sign of respect towards elders. You cannot address elders bare-headed as a new bride.
- Ankle Length Skirt:
- This is an ankle length skirt or dress worn by the bride to signify her passage into marriage and deter potential suitors from running after the bride. This beautiful attire is made from printed fabric adorned with simple yet beautiful bead-work. The bride pairs the dress with a tartan blanket spread around the shoulder, which symbolizes the protective and naturing traits that a bride adds to a family. In addition to this, she also ties a woolen scarf around her waist and wraps her head with a black doek to complete the look. The scarf will to conceal her figure as well as safeguard her fertility.
- Bath Towel
The meaning of the bath towel is similar to that of the modern wedding band.
A small tartan blanket
The small tartan blanket symbolises the nurturing and protective qualities which the family expects from the bride.
A scarf around the waist
The scarf that hides the waist, concealing the bride's frame, is also believed to protect her fertility.
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