Intangible heritage

Rituals and Crafts-skills Linked to the Tradition of the Tlemcen Bridal Costume. ©Belkaid 2011
Rituals and Crafts-skills Linked to the Tradition of the Tlemcen Bridal Costume

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Language: English

Summary/Historical Context

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The wedding ritual of Tlemcen in northwestern Algeria commences in the parents' home, where the bride is dressed in a traditionally woven golden silk dress, surrounded by her friends and married female relations, the latter wearing their own wedding costumes. Symbolic henna designs are applied to her hands, and an older woman helps her don a caftan of embroidered velvet, jewellery and a conical hat. Rows of baroque pearls protect her vital and reproductive organs against evil spirits. On leaving the house, the bride is covered with a golden veil of silk. During the wedding feast a married woman from the bride's inner circle draws red and silver designs beneath the veil on the bride's cheeks and under her lower lip to purify and protect her. Once protected by her caftan, jewels and make-up, the bride removes her veil, ready to be wed. Girls in Tlemcen are initiated into the costume tradition at an early age, while the craftsmanship involved in making the precious wedding costume is transmitted from generation to generation. The rite symbolizes the alliance between families and continuity between generations, while the craftsmanship plays a major role in perpetuating the creativity and identity of the Tlemcen community.

on this subject: Nomination file/Dossier de candidature

Place/region Algeria, North Africa
Series: 2012 Inscriptions on the Representative List
Type: Documentary
Authors and personalities: Fethi Hadj Kacem, director.
Production: CNRPATH, producer. Algeria. Ministry of Culture, sponsor ; The National Research Centre for Prehistory, Anthropology and History, sponsor.
Published in:
Rights/Droits: CNRPAH

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