Women in Tunisia traditionally cover their heads – with scarves, shawls, veils, hats, and other headwear pieces. Even today, in the modern world, there is a great variety of female headdresses used for ceremonial occasions and in day-to-day life. These people wear their kerchiefs and scarves not only because of their religious laws but also because of the climate in this North African country. We’ve gathered a number of photos depicting Tunisian women’s headgear to show you the ceremonial, festive, and everyday headdresses in use.
The photos were provided by Mr. Khaled Dridi
One of the most famous and popular Tunisian headdresses – both for men and women – is the chechia. It even became a symbol of Tunisia. This is a woolen skull-cap with a flat top. It is handmade and the female variation may be decorated with embroidery, jewelry, a tassel, etc. Traditionally, the chechia is made from crimson felt, though a modern chechia can be produced from various fabrics, different colors are available, and it can have rather modern embellishments. This headdress is still used by some Tunisian women today (for instance, as wedding or ceremonial headwear), but it is not as popular as it used to be in the past.
Another well-known Tunisian headgear is called a “sefseri”. It is a large veil made from fine silk or wool and it is always beige. This veil or scarf covers not only the head but almost the whole body, leaving only the face open. Women wrap themselves in it and hold the end with one hand, there’s no fasteners or buttons, only a rectangular piece of high-quality cloth.
Of course, some Tunisian women are Muslims, so they wear all kinds of hijabs and other religious headgear these days.
Also, there are lots of different scarves, veils, and kerchiefs for any kind of occasion. Some of them are simple and just functional – they cover the head and face from hot sun, sandstorms, and winds. Others are richly adorned with embroidery, gems, jewels, printed patterns, and other decorative elements to make them look ornate and festive.
Tunisian female headwear plays an important role in the local culture, clothing tradition, and customs. Even small children wear different sorts of headdresses. And by the way, little boys as much as girls. In such a climate, to go out without a headdress might be dangerous for one’s health, so the traditional costume of Tunisia always includes some headpiece.
Bridal traditional headgear