In contrast to other Muslims, Tuareg groom, not women, wear veils.

According to Wikipedia, Tuareg people are a large Berber ethnic confederation. Traditionally nomadic pastoralists, and They principally inhabit the Sahara in a vast area stretching from far southwestern Libya to southern Algeria, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso.


In contrast to other Muslims, Tuareg men, not women, wear veils. Men traditionally take part in caravans. When a boy reaches three months, he is presented with a sword; when a girl reaches the same age, her hair is ceremoniously braided.

A tuareg groom
Tuareg groom


Most Tuareg men are lean. Their movements, by intent, suggest both elegance and arrogance. Their leanness isn’t seen as much as it’s suggested by how their loose and flowing robes move about their limbs.


Tuareg woman


Tuareg women can marry who they please, and they can inherit property. They are regarded as tough, independent, open, and friendly. Women traditionally gave birth in their tents. Some women give birth by themselves alone in the desert. Tuareg men reportedly like their women fat. Women are held in high esteem. They play musical instruments, keep part of the family’s wealth in their jewelry, are consulted on important matters, take care of the household and make decisions while their husbands were on cattle raids or caravans.


As for chores, women pound millet, take care of the children, and tend sheep and goats. Girls begin taking care of the family’s goats and sheep at a relatively young age.


Tuareg dating


Instead of kissing, Tuareg men and women sniff their noses together. For their part, the Tuareg are appalled that foreigners press their lips together. When couples are dating, it is customary for a young man to sneak into his girlfriend’s tent in the middle of the night and sniff and pet with her and sneak out before dawn. Suitors that are caught by girl’s father sometimes get severe beatings.


 Tuareg wedding


The newlyweds sleep in an “ehan,” a nuptial tent, The tent is made with a frame of bent poles and covered with planks and palm from mats. The tent is taken apart and dissembled each day of the wedding festivities and made larger each day to symbolize the expansion of the festivities and the marriage itself.


Both the bride and groom are never left alone out of fear that jealous spirits will harm them. Each night the couple spends the night together, but the husband leaves before sunrise each morning. The bride remains secluded in the tent; after getting married, the husband and wife are supposed to avoid their in-laws.


The groom has henna applied to his feet and hands as a symbol of purity and fertility and protection from “jinn.” While surrounded by male friends, the groom has mud-like applied to his feet and is wrapped in plastic and palm fronds by female attendants called “tchinaden.” When the covering is removed after two or three hours, the groom’s feet are bright reddish-brown.


Ululating and drum beating announces the marriage to arriving guests. Draped in incense-fused robes, female guests add last-minute touches of beauty—a red powder called “ewakel.” During a Tuareg wedding, the bride is dressed up in an elaborate costume and gets on a donkey loaded with carpets, pillows, and other gifts. The bride travels with a small caravan of family members dressed in their finest clothes across the desert to the groom’s camp.


Following Tuareg tradition, marabouts perform a marriage rite in a local mosque attended by the parents but not the bride and groom.


Before the wedding, the bride is attended by female relatives who braid her hair. Then a caste of blacksmiths believed to possess magical powers, rub fragrant black sand through her hair. During the week-long ceremony, she must stay in a tent and not speak to anyone except her husband, best friend, mother, and attendants.


Most Tuareg weddings are held from July to September when caravans have finished their expeditions and rains bring the desert to life.


Tuareg men and their veil


Tagilmusts(the veil) was originally worn to protect the head from the sun and sand. But now they are often worn whenever the men are in public, almost like Muslim women wearing the veil.


They are worn as a sign of respect to other men and to keep out evil spirits called “jinn”. Every man reportedly has his style for tying his tagilmsust. As is true with Sikhs and their turbans, one must know a Tuareg male very well be able to see him without his tagilmust.


Strict practitioners reveal only their eyes, passing food under the garment to their mouth when they eat. Both Tuareg men and women wear indigo scarves. Women sometimes go topless.

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