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  • Writer's pictureDounia Bennekrouf

The traditional Kabyle dress

Dounia tells us about the ethnic northeastern Algerian dress, called a Kabyle dress, along with important rules and symbols hidden within the outfit.

In northeastern Algeria, the Berber tribal region unites Tiziouzou, Bejaia, Bouira, Bou Arreridj, and part of Setif, and the region has a cultural specificity that does not exist in any other Arab country. It is one of the few Algerian regions that remains attached to its long-standing regional history and culture.

Among what distinguishes this beautiful region, rich in its majestic mountains, is the Kabyle

dress. You can check out a picture of one here.

This territory has been preserved for over hundreds of years. There's various types of handicrafts, but the most prominent craft of sewing is the Kabyle dress.

The Kabyle dress is a traditional Algerian Amazigh robe that dates back hundreds of years ago to the Amazigh civilization. It is also considered a distinctive dress for women in Kabylia and serves as a symbol of their identity.

In the Kabyle dress, there are symbols and shapes drawn on the canvas. These markings are used to express the subtle feelings of a Kabyle woman, such as anger, depression, sadness, pessimism, and even joy.

This dress is based on bright colors, and the yellow color specifically symbolizes the color of the sun as a source of strength. The green designates hope, the blue represents freedom, and the orange color symbolizes magnanimity.

The Kabyle dress consists of a belt, frock, and the towel that a woman ties to her waist and over the robe. There are some cultural restrictions, though. A married woman must dress the robe with the towel around her waist, but a single girl ties it either on her right or left sides. The towel is not only for decoration but it is also an essential tool for tribal women during the olive harvest season.

As for the difference between the old and modern Kabyle garments, the modernity brought along new colors and symbols, while the old ones are made by hand and from silk in simple, repetitive forms.

It is our women and girls' indispensable formal gown, continually expressing the femininity of Algerian Kabyle women.

In our time, there is a very high demand for the traditional Kabyle dress, since it is not limited only

to the women of the Kabylia anymore. Now, there are requests to buy it from southern and western Algeria, and even outside the homeland.

A visitor to the various villages of the Kabyle area cannot help but find the Kabyle women wearing the traditional Kabyle dress.

It is our women and girls' indispensable formal gown, continually expressing the femininity of Algerian Kabyle women.


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