Gele- Nigerian head wrap

The head wrap, which is called “gele” is a part of a woman’s traditional attire in my culture. Female adults, typically from age 20 and above wear the gele as a sign of elegance and maturity. Women often wear a uniformed colored gele if they are among an organization or in the family that are involved with an event, such as a wedding or party. This photo is actually my mother and her fellow members of their organization, which is called Umuada ATL. Umuada means native daughter; hence, Umuada ATL means daughters of a common ancestor in Atlanta. The organization was established for the older women to empower women and especially the female youths. As time is changing, as well as living in many different environments, they strive to ensure that females have self confidence and value themselves. The common gele among the ladies bring awareness to their goal by promoting unity and expressions. Although, the common gele have similar colors, the women are free to make theirs at various heights based on their preference. It’s kind of funny to see the various styles that are chosen because the women usually make them or get them made based on what they feel is trending at the time. I just go by what I like, which is the small ones with multiple layers. The gele is usually not worn with just anything. The elegant head wrap must have an elegant attire and jewelry to match. The attire is typically with a traditional style. The style is usually a lace made blouse with a wrapper that must be wrapped with feet apart to help with walking once its tied. At a Nigerian party, the women with common gele usually get a lot of attention, which brings more awareness to their cause. Umuada initially started in Atlanta and today, this organization is global and continues to grow. I honestly thank the gele as the traditional head wrap adds a fun fashion that attracts people and indirectly gives a messages to the females that we should remain elegant because it is ingrained in us how the gele usually makes a woman feel and look. I am also aware that many other cultures use the gele but I don’t know if they all have similar representations. I would love to find out so I guess I got some researching to do!

3 thoughts on “Gele- Nigerian head wrap

  1. This is very interesting! I always wondered the name of these headdresses which I see from here to there online usually when my friends are celebrating their own cultures. I always thought that these outfits were beautiful especially the matching of colors. The organization Umuada ATL seems very uplifting and inspiring in their mission to empower women. Along with the captivating outfits and the “geles”, I feel they should attract women and grow even more than they already have! Thank you so much for sharing

  2. This is so interesting. I like the fact that women get to choose their own style and height that suits them. I feel like this will give them the flexibility and the freedom to express themselves. In my country Ethiopia, we also have a traditional dress called “Habesha Kemis”, and now a days it worn in different styles however back in the days many women used to wear it in it’s traditional style, longer and looser. It is interesting to see how a simple cloth can exemplify the changes in the values, beliefs and attitude of our culture though time. Thank you for your post.

  3. Very informative post. I too had always wondered what was the real name of these headdresses. The vibrant colors and style of the gele definitely add to the beauty and elegance of the ladies wearing them.

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