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Urban Algerian man wearing a burnous, 19th century
A French Spahi uniform c. 1960 with a distinctive white burnous

A burnous (Berber languages: ⴰⴱⵔⵏⵓⵙ, Arabic: بُرْنُس‎, translit. burnus) also spelled "burnoose", "bournous" or "barnous", from the Berber abernus via the Latin "Birrus" itself from the Greek βίρρος (birros) according to the Encyclopédie berbère[1], is a long cloak of coarse woollen fabric with a hood, usually white in color, worn by the Algerian Berbers first before it spread to other parts of the Maghreb region . The colour of the Burnous is white, beige, or dark brown. The white burnous is worn during important events and by people with high positions.[2]

Burnous in other cultures[edit]

The burnous became a distinctive part of the uniform of the French Army of Africa's Spahi cavalry, recruited in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. It was also sometimes worn unofficially by officers or soldiers of other units in North Africa. The white burnous remains part of the parade uniform of the one remaining spahi regiment of the French Army: the 1st Spahi Regiment, and of the spanish Regulares from North African cities of Ceuta and Melilla.

Other names for a burnous include albornoz, sbernia, sberna, and bernusso.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ encyclopedieberbere.revues.org/1883
  2. ^ Encyclopédie du costume: des peuples de l'Antiquité à nos jours ainsi que, Nouvelles editions latines. Maurice Cottaz. (1990). Page 80. ISBN 2-7233-0421-3. Date:02-08-2016.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Burnus at Wikimedia Commons