Do you know what Fulani traditional attire is? What do Fulani people wear and what hairstyles they opt for occasions like weddings? What hairstyles do they wear? Learn more about in this article.
Before going into details on what Fulani people wear and what their cultural attire looks like, we need to explain to our new readers who Fulani people are.
Who are Fulani people?
Fulani people or Fula people as they are also called elsewhere are an ethnic group that amounts to more than twenty million people. They live in countries in West Africa including states like Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, Chad, Guinea, etc.
Most of these people have a nomadic way of living. Fulani is known as herdsmen of Nigeria given their way of living. However, within the last years, they seem to be switching to having a more sedentary lifestyle.
READ ALSO: The reasons Fulani herdsmen are powerful
Among other important characteristics of these people is that they are mostly Muslims. Apart from being Muslims themselves they also strive to convert other tribes around them to this religion. This is one of the primary goals of the Fulani people.
Now, let’s talk more about the Fulani dressing and see how beautiful their culture is and what origins their attire has.
Fulani traditional attire
Surprisingly enough, there is no just one traditional Fulani attire. The thing is that the tribe is so dispersed and lives among other cultural and ethnic groups that they absorbed the culture and traditions of those around them. So, it is hard to distinguish one common Fulani tribe clothing.
Besides, it depends on the area where Fulani live. The living conditions in certain areas define what clothes to wear. Thus, those living closer to the dessert climate wears different things than those in less dry areas. So, let’s talk about all these attires separately.
Guinean Fulani dressing
People from the tribe in question who inhabit this area have their own specific clothing. From the trusted sources we found online, we can state that a huge emphasis here is put into a hat almost all men wear. Fulani man normally has a hat which is marked with the multicolor design. The colors selection usually depends on the men’s tastes, and there is no particular pattern used here.
READ ALSO: 14 Fulani herdsmen brutally killed in Kaduna
Fulani woman of this region as well as of several other ones typically wears ornaments made out of henna which is a hand-made dye women make out of special plants. They take this paint and decorate their bodies with particular ornaments. Such decorations usually go on their arms, hands, and even legs. Some of such decorations have a deep meaning which roots back into the history of the tribe, while others only aim to emphasize the beauty of the lady.
Nigerian Fulani tribe clothing
In this region, men and women who belong to this ethnic group have several other characteristics about their clothes which make them unique and outstanding. For instance, here women wear more head-dresses than in other regions. The thing is that they like to decorate themselves with beads and other accessories depending on their wealth and family traditions.
Apart from this Fulani dressing often include special hats for men. They are not regular hats as we are used to seeing them, but rather fancy hair covers which have several distinctive tops. Sometimes such headgears are covered with embroidered passages or colorful and bright insets.
In this region as well as in some part of Niger, Fulani people tend to wear a lot of bracelets made out of different materials and often symbolizing various things. Some bracelets are connected to what these people believe in.
Fulani attire in the Western Africa
In this region men and women from this tribe also dress up in their own specific way. For instance, given the nomadic lifestyle people tend to wear long gowns often made out of white cloth. They have special hats which protect their skin and faces from excessive sunlight. Thus, typically they have a huge piece of white cloth wrapped around their faces.
Other men tend to make their hats lighter, and so they weave them out of straw. Since they have access to leather, they craft special clothing for times when they are herding their sheep in the fields out of leather. Since it is natural, it both protects them from wind and sand but also prevents enormous sweating which is important in their conditions.
One of the several characteristics of these people is that men typically carry sticks they use when pasturing their herds. An interesting fact is that they often put it on their shoulders, and rest their arms on it while working and watching the herds.
Finally, some men also wear shirts and trousers made out of the natural things they grow. Given the climate and how spread the cotton production is, they wear cotton clothes for the most part. It is an affordable and practical clothing.
Fulani women have to wear long clothing to prevent men from looking at them with lust. They over their bodies with long dresses decorated with different ornaments and floral patterns. They are still allowed to wear bracelets and necklaces. On top of that, women can wear special rings pierced in various parts of their bodies as it is believed as one of the most beautiful decorations.
Now, let’s see what other specifics Fulani people have.
Fulani facial marks
Among many other Fulani tribe peculiarities, Fulani facial marks are one of the biggest interest. The tradition says that once the child is born in a family, his parents are to make special marks on their faces. By the time the newborn grows up, they turn into scars and remain on the kid’s face forever.
Depending on the region, some people of the Fulani tribe use special ink of the “indigo” color. They make special marks around the nose and one’s mouth. Some even mark child’s gums, but this is less common that the facial marks.
Women of this tribe tend to grow long hair. It is a symbol of beauty. One of the cultural things of this tribe is braided hair. Traditionally, ladies split all the hair into five parts and make each one of them into a braid. While braiding it, they add family jewelry into it. For instance, some ladies weave valuable coins into their hair while others add precious stones.
The hairstyles might differ depending on the region. Men, however, wear their hair short in all areas given the climate and lifestyle.
Fulani traditional marriage attire
Among many Fulani marriage traditions, wedding attire is not the biggest one. People tend to wear white clothing with embroidered colorful tops as a decoration. Some wear colorful, bright robes, though, with beautiful headgears and triangular hats for men. However, the western cultures are having more and more impact on the Fulani wedding dresses choice as well as the way grooms dresses up for the occasion.
Moreover, bear in mind that there are several stages of marriage ceremonies in Fulani tribe. On the first one, a bride and a groom are not even present. They only dress up festively for the second one. You can see what brides and grooms look like on their wedding day according to Fulani cultural heritage.
We enjoyed exploring the culture of these amazing people, and hope that you did too. Check out the pictures and share if you found the information here useful. Have fun!