In the North-west Africa, a territory inhabited by Haratins, Berbers, Tauregs and black Moors is known to the world as “Mauritania” which is officially called as the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. It is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which existed long ago in the far north of modern-day Morocco. The total population is of Mauritania is about 2.5 million; out of which, the Haratin community accounts for 40 to 45 percent of the total population, while the white Arab-Berbers account for 25 percent and the black Africans are almost 30 %. Traditional dress of Mauritania is somehow a fusion of Berber and African cultures.
Traditional dress for Mauritanian men includes a flowing wide sleeved robe which is known as boubou. In formal occasions, boubou is especially adorned with intricate embroidery and is beautified in different patterns. Although western dresses like Jeans and T-Shirts are becoming popular in younger men, the popularity of boubou still exists particularly for festivities and national events. Boubou was historically made from silk, but as Silk is considered as a prohibited garment for men in Islam, boubou is now mostly made from cotton and synthetic cloths made to resemble silk.
In the whole country from the south to the north, the Mauritanian men wear the blue or kaftans. The traditional kaftan of Mauritania for men is a pullover robe. Kaftans are worn by both men and women.
Baggy trousers known as Seroual or Sirwal are also common in Mauritanian men. These trousers are not originally an Arab garment but were introduced from Persia to Muslim countries. Mauritanian men traditionally clinch the trousers at the waist with a leather belt. It is a comfortable and airy garment which is very popular in Mauritania.
Taureg Men of Sahara in Mauritania use the indigo dyed cotton garment as their headdress and it is called chehce. It is also used as veil and protector of the face from the sand storm, sunburn and also to prevent the inhalation of wind borne sand. People of Mauritania also use different colors in Cheche these days. This rectangular shaped garment is shaped like a turban and fixed through a typical knot on the head. It is also known as Haouli in Mauritania.
Mauritania is an Islamic country where modesty and decency is the prominent feature in clothing. You’ll hardly find any man or woman exposing arms or legs. For some people it may be conservativeness but such style is also trendy due to harsh climatic conditions of desert and heat as it exists in other Arab and African territories. Adult Mauritanian women compulsorily cover their heads, although in some parts particularly neighboring to Senegal, the women don’t follow such strictness.
Traditional dress for Mauritanian women includes Haasaniya or Mulafa which is a long garment wrapped around the whole body and then around again to cover the head. This is usually a very light fabric which is traditionally dyed in Kaedi. Sometimes the Mauritanian women also prefer a heavier fabric in indigo called ‘niila”. Generally women do not cover their faces, unless it is very windy when it is best to cover up to avoid getting sand everywhere. Maur women also wear a skirt type clothe under this garment.
Sometimes like other West African countries colorful pagne is also worn by the Mauritanian women which comes both in formal and informal versions. This is a rectangular cotton fabric which is knotted at the waist and drape over a long skirt. The bodice is a boubou and a knotted head scarf completes the dress.
In the footwear, traditional sandals made with Gazalle skin are very common in Mauritania. With the passage of time many variations in colors and kinds of fabrics are being introduced in Mauritania for clothing. But in the nutshell, the traditional dress of Mauritanian woman is a cover from head to heel which normally comes in cotton and embellished with geometric patterns. While for Mauritanian men, the traditional outfit comprises of long tunic-style shirt along with loose pants sometimes with turban and shawl too.
For more interesting posts with the same subject on the Lovely Planet Website, please click the following links;1- Algerian Traditional Dress 2- Traditional Dress Of Serbia 3- Traditional Dress Of Kosovo 4- Traditional Dress Of Libya 5- Traditional Dress Of Morocco 6- Traditional Dress Of Albania 7- Traditional Dress Of Tunisia 8- Traditional Dress Of Lebanon 9- Traditional Dress Of Bosnia And Herzegovina 10- Traditional Dress Of Azerbaijan 11- Traditional Dress Of Turkmenistan 12- Traditional Dress Of Kazakhstan 13- Traditional Dress Of Kyrgyzstan 14- Traditional Dress Of Uzbekistan 15- Traditional Dress Of Tajikistan 16- The Traditional Dress Of Laos 17- The Traditional Dress Of Vietnam 18- Traditional Dresses Of The World – 1 19- Traditional Dress Of Jammu & Kashmir 20- Ottoman Dresses From Turkey 21- Colors Of Cholistan 22- Cultural Dresses Of Balochistan 23- Lehenga Choli Or Ghagra Choli 24- Sari Or Saree : Traditional Dress Of Women In South Asia 25- Ajrak , The Traditional Attire From Sindh , Pakistan 26- The Traditional Tais Of East Timor 27- Shalwar Kameez: The Popular Dress Of South Asia 28- Churidar Pajama: The Favorite South Asian Attire 29- Pakistani Bridal Dress 30- Rilli, Sindhi Quilt Art 31- Fantastic, Alluring Khussa Shoes 32- Customs And Traditions Of Kalash Tribe 33- Hanfu, The Classical Chinese Dress 34- London Fashion Week 35- Fashion Week Milan: The Glamorous Event Of Italy 36- New York Fashion Week 37- Paris Fashion Week 38- Traditional Dress Of Jordan 39- Traditional Dress Of Syria 40- Traditional Dress Of Afghanistan 41- Traditional Dress Of Palestine 42- Traditional Dress Of Oman 43-Traditional Dress Of Nigeria 44- Traditional Dress Of Hungary 45-Traditional Dress Of Ukraine 46- Malaysian Traditional Dress 47- Traditional Dress Of Kenya 48- Traditional Eastern Brides 49- Traditional Dress Of Bulgaria 50- Traditional dress of Uganda 51- Traditional Dress of Iceland 52- Traditional Dress of Croatia 53- traditional dress of Norway 54- Traditional dress of Finland 55- Traditional Dress of Philippines 56- Traditional dress of Denmark 57- Traditional dress of Belarus 58- Traditional Dress of Puerto Rico 59- Traditional Dress of Nicaragua: Marvelous and colorful 60 – Traditional Dress of Nepal: Whimsical but charming 61- Brilliant Colors of Dagestan: Really fanciful and imaginative 62- Kabuki: A classical and traditional Japanese theater 63- Boogie-woogie: A famous Swing Dance 64- Colors of Samba Dance from Brazil: So lively so amazing 65- Ho Jamalo: The favorite folk dance of Sindh 66- Odissi from the Eastern India: A historic ritual dance 67- Sattriya from Assam: A classical Indian dance 68- Fandango: A famous couple dance from Spain 69- Maypole from Europe: A fabulous circle folk dance 70- Cueca: The national dance of Chile 71- Traditional dress of Belgium: A charming European attire 72- Traditional dress of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 73- Colors of Kalash: 5 lovely images of beautiful Kalash girls 74- Traditional dress of Georgia: The fantastic Chokha 75- Traditional dress of Argentina: The warrior Gaucho costume 76- Traditional dress of Venezuela: Not complicated but decorated 77- Traditional dress of Latvia: Made with the Linen fabric 78- Traditional dress of Romania: So captivating and graceful 79- Traditional dress of Estonia: So classy and versatile 80- Traditional dress of Armenia: So colorful and diversified 81- Traditional dress of Angola: A symbol of the ethnic culture 82- Traditional dress of Austria: Dirndl, Lederhosen and Tracht 83-Traditional dress of Namibia: Far from the modernizations 84- Traditional dress of Zambia: Rare but unique in nature 85- Traditional dress of Slovakia: Kroje , decorated and cultural 86. Traditional dress of Qatar: Pure Arabian endowment 87. Traditional dress of Brazil: So bright and colorful in nature 88. Traditional dress of Colombia: So iconic in Latin America 89. Traditional dress of Chile: So artistic and cultural 90. Traditional dress of Mexico: Blend of indigenous and imported cultures 91- Traditional dress of Panama: The exotic Mola and La Pollera 92- Traditional dress of Cuba: A product of multi-cultural effects 93- Traditional dress of Bangladesh: So awesome in its nature and kind 94- Traditional dress of Indonesia: Featured with unique patterns and designs 95- Traditional dress of Pakistan: Legacy of ancient civilizations 96- Traditional dress of Russia: A symbol of ethnic diversity in the Russian Federation 97- Traditional dress of England: Outcome of the local and European clothing repercussions