Siwa Wedding Clothing #2222
Siwa Oasis Series – May 2019
This video has no sound, I put it together to present the traditional female wedding clothing of the Siwa Oasis, which is situated in the Western Desert of Egypt.
The names for the different articles of clothing are in the Siwi dialect of the Amazigh language. I only know the pronunciation of a few of the words, so I will leave the audio mute until the day when a native speaker can speak the words for us.
The subtitles are transliterated from the original language, quoted from three written sources;
“Oasis Siwa: from the Inside, traditions, customs and magic” by Fathi Malim, 2001, Al Katan publishers.
“Siwa; Jewelry, Costume, and Life in an Egyptian Oasis” by Margaret Vale, 2011, University of Cairo Press.
“Siwa Oasis” by Ahmed Fakhry, 1973, University of Cairo Press.
The photos are from two sources;
Photos of Sahra C Kent in Siwa, May 2019. Locations are the Shali (old city of Siwa) and Kanoos Shali Lodge. Photos by Yasmine of Cairo.
Close-ups of clothing in Sahra’s collection and in Siwa House Museum. Photos by Sahra C Kent.
- 0:05 “Akbrir Librir” – Wedding dress of the first day of wedding celebration. The silhouette is wide with wide sleeves. Stripes are of the Siwa colors of green, red, orange, yellow and black Jewelry shown in these photos is borrowed and from other origins. Headscarf is modern daily wear in Siwa and embroidered in an Amazigh pattern. Location in the “Shali” the old fortress city. Photo by Yasmine of Cairo.
- 0:28 The neckline of the “Akbrir Librir” has an embroidered appliquéd square collar called “Atuk”. It is square because she is now married. Unmarried girls wear a “V” neckline. Photo by Sahra C Kent, dress in her collection.
- 0:36 Another example of the “Atuk”, also on an “Akbrir Librir” but with a different black fabric base, and a different striped fabric of the Siwa color palette. This example shows an embroidered Khamsa (hand) against the evil eye. In past days a silver khamsa would be
pinned to the wedding clothing. Unfortunately the silversmiths are gone now, so another alternative is to embroider the symbols and talismans. Photo by Sahra C Kent, dress in her collection.
- 0:47 “Srawelin Khatem” – white cotton women’s trousers, wide at the top with a drawstring waist, narrow at the lower leg. The bride will have several new trousers made for her wedding, wearing a new set every day, then continue wearing them afterwards as well. They have solid embroidery at the ankle, then more open embroidery up to the knee. Photo by Sahra C Kent, both trousers in her collection.
- 1:06 “Khatem” – means a seal of protection. It is made up of a geometric design of squares and triangles. These seals are sewn onto the cuffs of the “Srawelin Khatem” trousers and on the wedding shirts. Photo by Sahra C Kent, trousers in her collection.
- 1:13 “Asherah Nauak” white wedding shirt of silk or silk-like fabric embroidered in the Siwa color palette with an assortment of symbols in a sunburst pattern, was worn on the 3rd day of the wedding for specific visitations. It includes 7 “Khatem” to protect her fertility. Video by Sahra C Kent, display of wedding clothing in Siwa House Museum.
- 1:30 “Asherah Hawak Azdhaf” black wedding shirt of the same style and embroidery as the “Asherah Nauak”. This was worn on the 7th day of the wedding for specific visitations. Both this and the white version can be worn at special occasions after the wedding. Video by Sahra C Kent, wedding shirt in her collection.
- 1:45 “Akbir Nwasa” – Solid color wide dresses with the “Atuk” square collar. Traditionally several of these dresses would be layered on, all over a “narrow dress”. Video by Sahra C Kent, dress in her collection.
- 1:51 – Traditionally “Akbir Nwasa” were worn in red, yellow, green, and orange. In this photo the appropriate wedding head veil, the “Troket” is worn. Location in the Kanoos Shali Lodge, Siwa. Photo by Yasmine of Cairo.
- 1:57 – Example of a red “Akbir Nwasa” on left, and a “Asherah Nauak” on the right. Video by Sahra C Kent, display of wedding clothing in Siwa House Museum.
- 2:05 “Troket” – Embroidered wedding head scarf. Where the embroidered lines and symbols are sewn in a sunburst pattern on the wedding shirts, they are sewn in horizontal lines on the head scarf. Both use the same Siwa color palette and symbols. Often now in modern times sequins, beads and jewels are added in non-traditional patterns, first for appliqué work for European Fashion Houses, and now for use in Siwa as well. Photo by Sahra C Kent, head scarf in her collection.
- 2:11 “Akbir Nwasa” and “Troket”. Location in the Kanoos Shali Lodge, Siwa. Photo by Yasmine of Cairo.