Swahili Traditional Clothing and Today’s Clothing

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The traditional clothing for a Swahili man is a long robe and a small, rounded hat with embroidery or bright colors.  Women dress in long dresses, skirts or draped cloth and have their head covered with a cloth or fabric.  Many of the clothing colors are bright and striped. When not wearing traditional clothing for a celebration or festival and always during important and religious occasions, western style clothing is worn.

Men wear pants and shirts and women a different style of dress.  However, on Fridays, which is the official day of prayer for Muslims, they wear traditional clothing.  The kanga is a rectangular piece of cloth that represents Swahili culture. The cloth is hand-made with extreme care. The kanga is used as a sling to carry babies.  It can also be used to carry melons and other foods on your head when you are walking a distance and you have to carry a heavy load.  The kanga can also be used as a kitchen apron.

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