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  • Photograph of a bride in a traditional wedding costume meets meets her prospective husband, in white, who has brought two friends with him, at a mass Berber engagement festival in Imilchil, Morocco.
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Berber Bride Meets Groom
A bride meets her prospective husband, in white, who has brought two friends with him, at a mass Berber engagement festival in Imilchil, Morocco
© Nik Wheeler/CORBIS

Berber

Berber Wedding Costume

Berber Bride's Costume
As in many cultures, Berber wedding costumes vary dramatically community to community. The wedding outfit of a Berber bride of the Ida ou Nadif tribe is an expression of wealth and protection. The headdress and jewellery worn by a bride served to display her wealth but also formed a protective barrier from the evil eye. It was thought that the evil eye was attracted to precious metals and therefore would not penetrate past the jewellery to harm the wearer.

Her wrapping cloth, called a haik, would have been woven at home. It has decoration along the shoulders, back and at the knee to indicate the parts of the body needed to do important work such as carrying firewood and water. Her large, loosely woven headscarf is hand-dyed using expensive henna in gradating colours. The scarf drapes elegantly down her back and is secured to her head by a black band -- the colour black indicates married status and is worn by the bride on her wedding day.

Berber Groom’s Costume
Unlike a Berber bride’s outfit, a Berber groom’s costume is notably free of embellishment, complicated layering and highly distinct regional variation. Instead, the groom wears a djellaba of creamy linen with limited embroidery. Over this, he wears a cape that, like the djellaba, is understated. The only notable adornment in his entire outfit is the white tassel at the point of the cape’s hood.