Gele means 'head tie' in Yoruba. No single piece of clothing makes a Yoruba woman’s look more regal and beautiful like the gele.
The significance of a gele in traditional attires
The gele completes any traditional attire.
It has become cross-cultural and women of other Nigerian cultures wear it.
The gele is the standard for a traditional wedding (especially a Yoruba one) and even the guests wear it for wedding parties. It is also worn during burial ceremonies and any kind of celebration at all.
The days of the damask gele were even more glorious than today. They were tied into more elaborate styles.
The higher the gele is, the more beautiful it is. Even Lagbaja sang a song about an “Oni Gele” in a track called “Skentele Skontolo”. It is said that because at any party the women who wore the most elaborate gele look like they are having the most fun.
Historically, a gele would depict a woman's marital status, if worn on the right she is married, but on the left she is single.
Most times, they are status symbols because bigger geles are more expensive.
Nowadays, it is the aso-oke gele that is in vogue, it is usually not too extravagant. Though, one can increase the steps or add more flair to it. Usually, it is sequined or beaded but those cost more.
The process of tying a gele requires special skill and there are so many innovative ways to tie. Although, some are pre-tied and eliminate the stress of getting an expert to do so or becoming one yourself.
A traditional Yoruba bride is never complete without her gele and her guests are ill-equipped to party without theirs too. It completes the entire ensemble.
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