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  • Writer's pictureDounia Bennekrouf

The Tlemcenian Chedda dress

Dounia talks about the Chedda dress, which is a bridal dress that symbolizes cultural continuity within the Tlemcen community.

The past of Andalusia yielded a garment that was transformed into a traditional costume in the city of Tlemcen and other cities in western Algeria. This costume is called Chedda.

The Chedda is a traditional dress famous in the city of Tlemcen in the far west of Algeria. The bride adorns it on her wedding day, and this dress is the most luxurious dress among the traditional costumes because it is studded with many pieces of jewelry and embroidered with elegant golden threads. You can check out a picture of a Chedda dress here.

The Chedda constitutes twelve coordinated pieces of a blouse, kaftan, chashia, and towel, and these parts are embroidered with golden threads and studded with more than 50 types of traditional homemade jewelry. In fact, its sewing time takes more than four months.

First off, we have the blouse inherited from the Arab civilization, which is a wide-sleeved silk dress made of thin and transparent fabric. Over it, a woman would wear a long embroidered coat called a kaftan that dates back to the Ottoman era. The chashia, or hat, is inherited from the Andalusian civilization, and it is a conical crown studded with precious stones. Moreover, these parts are complemented by a towel, or belt, dating back to the Amazigh civilization. The bride is not allowed to wear it until after the end of the marriage ceremony.

It is very complicated to wear the Tlemcenian dress because you need several women to help the bride wear it, and the dressing may last for more than an hour.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) classified the Tlemcenian Chadda dress in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during the seventh session of UNESCO in 2012.

The Tlemcenian dress symbolizes a cultural heritage that the people of Tlemcen were keen on preserving generation after generation because it creates a strong sense of identity and continuity.


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