Djellaba

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Djellaba

Djellaba /ɨˈlɑːbə/ (Arabic: (جلابة)) (also djellabah, galabiya, jellāb(a))[1] is a Berber traditional long, loose-fitting unisex outer robe with full sleeves worn in the Maghreb region of North Africa and in Arabic-speaking countries along the Mediterranean.

Traditionally djellabas are made of wool in different shapes and colors though nowadays lightweight textile djellabas have replaced wool djellabas in emigrant communities in the West, e.g., Paris, Brussels, et cetera. Among the Berbers, or Imazighen, such as Imilchil in the Atlas Mountains, the color of a djellaba indicates the marital status (single or married) of the bearer—a dark brown djellaba indicating bachelorhood.[citation needed] Traditionally, djellabas reached down to the ground but the lightweight textile djellabas are somewhat slimmer and shorter. Men often wear a light-colored djellaba sometimes along with a red fez hat and soft yellow slippers (balgha, Arabic: بلغه, or babouche) for religious celebrations and weddings.

Almost all djellabas of both styles (male or female) include a baggy hood called a qob (Arabic: قب) that comes to a point at the back. The hood is of vital importance for both sexes, as it protects the wearer from the sun, and in earlier times was used as a defense against sand being blown into the wearer's face by strong desert winds. In colder climes, as in the mountains of Morocco and Algeria, it also serves the same function as a winter hat, preventing heat loss through the head and protecting the face from snow and rain. It is not uncommon for the roomy hood to be used as an informal pocket during times of nice weather; it can fit loaves of bread or bags of groceries.

Traditional djellabas are generally made of two types of material, cotton for summer wear and coarse wool for the winter. The wool is typically obtained from sheep living in the surrounding mountains.

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References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Literally means attractive, from jalaba, to bring, fetch; see glb in Semitic roots. thefreedictionary.com.

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