The continent of Africa is popular for its rich and jovial culture along with its customs and traditions. The African tribes are one of the oldest tribes inhabited on land. An interesting part of this culture is the African dashiki shirt that the natives wear. This attire print is the most popular worldwide among all the African print dresses.
Basically, Dashiki is a colored garment worn by African men on various formal and informal occasions. Although the trend has now spread across the globe and women have started wearing these prints as well. It is made such that it covers the upper half of the body, that is the torso region.
The traditional garment has a V-shaped neck, with or without the collar, which has beautiful embroidery on the neck and sleeves like several other African print dresses. It is usually teamed up with a traditional brimless cap, called Kufi cap and pants called Skoto. This print is not just a part of the tradition for the African people but also has historical significance for them.
1) Origin: It is said that the Dashiki print originated in West Africa and was later incorporated to produce the trending African dashiki shirt. Initially, only shirts were made out of this print but later designers started making different styles of dresses out of it. As a result, today these African print dresses are equally popular among both men and women. It was introduced in the markets way back in the 1960s.
2) History: Dashiki is symbolic of the African black history month. The sales for this costume are the highest in the month of February which is looked upon as a black month. The African dashiki shirt was initially worn as a protest tradition against the injustice faced by the African Americans in the early times. It opposed the attire that men were expected to wear at that time, which is coat and tie.
It was worn to spread the message that-“Black is Beautiful”. Thus by defying the dressing traditions of the Americans the African localities demanded their rights in the American society.
With time the situations turned in their favor and the movement faded but the Dashiki print still stays with its vibrant colors. The protest’s outcome was such that now not only the African natives but also American and many other people of different faiths wear Dashiki as a regular clothing.
3) Etymology: The word “Dashiki” is derived from a native language, Yoruba or Hausa that means shirt. The names of other traditional clothing worn along with Dashiki, like Kufi and Skoto, are derived from Yoruba too.
4) Styles: There are mainly two ways in which African print dresses can be made out of Dashiki.
a) Suit: The Dashiki suit is quite similar to the Ethiopian suit except it does not have a collar. The suit is made from the vibrant Dashiki fiber. It comprises of the African dashiki shirt, Skoto pants, and the brimless cap Kufi.
b) Robe: The Dashiki robe is also called Senegalese kaftan. It has long bell sleeves and is up to ankle length. It is teamed up with the brimless cap Kufi and drawstrings pant Tubay.
The leader of tribes or the Muslims team up their Dashiki shirts with matching pants.
5) Dashiki as a modern outfit: Dashiki was introduced in the western culture as an outfit to defy the government policies. Later an industry was established in the US for the manufacturing of African Dashiki shirt. As a result, even the American community gained the opportunity to wear the popular African print dresses.
6) Dashiki print today: Dashiki is still a part of formal wear in western Africa. It is worn on several religious occasions. Many people wear Dashiki clothing in mosques, churches and other places of worship. Even today the Dashiki print holds the traditional touch.
7) African culture: Many African people believe that Dashiki is a tradition that is meant just for the African or black people and it is not to be worn by the Americans. It signifies their victory over the political views of Caucasian Americans.
Thus, if an American is found wearing a Dashiki they consider it a sign of insult. Though with changing times Dashiki is now famous worldwide and is worn by people belonging to different cultures. It is now also being worn as an informal attire and is quite trending.
8) Wedding colors: Dashiki prints have various colors and they can be considered occasion specified. Usually, Dashiki with grey color is chosen for wedding occasions and other such auspicious events. For now tradition events the color lavender or purple and blue are chosen.
These vibrant colors have significance. The purple color is symbolic of loyalty while blue color stands for love and harmony in Africa. Some grooms also wear white dashiki on their wedding day. The modern couples have also been seen avoiding these traditional colors and sticking to the nonformal vibrant colors.
9) Funeral color: Dashiki is also worn in the funerals or death ceremonies in Africa. The colors chosen for such occasions are red and black. Red color signifies longing and love while the black color is symbolic of death. These red and black colors are considered the colors of mourning.
10) Dashiki trend: Many African dresses have gained popularity but Dashiki remains the all-time global favorite because of many reasons. It is a light garment which is very comfortable and airy during the summer seasons. They are available in free sizes and hence can be worn by anyone. This cool attire originated several centuries back but still remains trending and favorite of many designers.
Dashiki is also known by the name “Angelina” in some parts of Africa like Ghana and Congo. The Dashiki print and its cultural significance have also been featured in the movies. Many native personalities have also worn this traditional attire on cultural events and on talk shows as well.
© 2018 Copyright Afrizar.com, All Rights Reserved.