The High Atlas mountains are an unforgivingly cold
place in the winter, and colorful striped shawls like this one offer an added
layer of warmth to the women of the semi-nomadic Aït Haddidou tribe.
Traditionally fastened with a metal fibula, handira shawls are often first worn by a
young woman for her wedding day. Hand-woven with wool from the tribe’s sheep,
the deep red natural dye is thought to bring strength and protection and the
bright green border is representative of peace, the Prophet, plant life and
good luck. Thanks to the thickness of the weave the shawl is ideal as a wall
hanging, carpet or blanket.
Every September the Aït Haddidou tribe gather in the village of Imichil in the High Atlas to celebrate the feast day of their patron saint Sidi Mohammed el Maghani and to remember the Romeo and Juliet legend that...
Every September the Aït Haddidou tribe gather in the village of Imichil in the High Atlas to celebrate the feast day of their patron saint Sidi Mohammed el Maghani and to remember the Romeo and Juliet legend that inspired the festival. Long ago there were two lovers from rival tribes who were forbidden to marry. Heartbroken, they drowned themselves in the nearby lakes of Tislit (the woman) and Isli (the man), which were formed from their tears. As the story goes, their deaths inspired the families of both tribes to establish a day every year for men and women of different local tribes to meet and court one another. Today the festival draws dozens of potential brides, dressed in their striped handira shawls, their cheeks rouged and their eyes lined with kohl, to sing, dance, feast and flirt with their white-robed male counterparts.
Details and Dimensions
72" L, 50" W