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Czech Republic – “I’m married”

czech2 czechCzech and Slovak kroje* (traditional folk costumes) represent
some of the world’s finest folk art and most exquisite dress. They
reflect centuries of evolution and refinement. Kroje are also very diverse; each
region and village has a distinct kroj. Each varies in fabrics, colors,
embellishments, and overall form. All are traditionally handmade.

Women’s kroje are usually more elaborate than men’s kroje. The head covering
may be a cap, scarf, headband, ribbons, or even a floral wreath. A married
woman usually covers her hair with a cap or scarf. Blouses are often embellished
with embroidery, beadwork, sequins, and/or lace. In parts of Moravia, the sleeves
are very full and may be tightly pleated. A vest is worn over the blouse. Skirts
may appear full, lie close to the body, and/or be tightly pleated. An apron,
sometimes elaborately embellished, completes the kroj. There are also
appropriate stockings and footwear for each region.

The manner in which a kroj is prepared and worn is as important as the individual
elements. In Moravia, for example, the women of each village tie their
headscarves in a unique style. Blouse sleeves may hang naturally, are starched, or
may be pleated for fullness. Often, lace collars and aprons are starched for a
stiff and crisp effect. Heavily pleated sleeves or skirts must not appear crushed or
distorted; skirt fullness is achieved with petticoat layers. Overall, the kroj must
appear clean, fresh, and unwrinkled.

Occasion is a final consideration. Traditionally, there was a specific kroj for
church events and one for dancing and festivals. Kroje for wedding and mourning
ceremonies were especially complicated. For example, in the Chod region of
western Bohemia, the relationship of the mourners to the deceased could be
determined according to the composition of the kroj. At a wedding, the bride
would dress differently than her bridesmaids; a godmother attending a baby’s
christening ceremony would not dress the same as the baby’s mother.

Kroj is pronounced kroy. Plural is kroje, pronounced kroy-eh.

(Please note that because of the variation between kroje in each village and
region, there are exceptions to nearly everything!)

-exerpt from Folk Guidelines prepared in 2002 by Carmen Langel, Curator of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library and Mark Vasko-Bigaouette, Czech and Slovak Heritage Tours Inc.  and Founder of the CzechoSlovak Genealogical Society International ( CGSI )

Akha Women of Laos

Beautifully Wrapped Akha Woman in Laos

Beautifully Wrapped Akha Woman in Laos

 

Today we’re traveling to Asia to visit the Beautifully Wrapped Akha women.

From Wiki: The Akha are an indigenous hill tribe that live in small villages at high altitudes in the mountains of ThailandBurmaLaos, China, and YunnanProvince in China. They made their way from China into South East Asia during the early 1900s. Civil war in Burma and Laos resulted in an increased flow of Akha immigrants and there are now some 80,000 living in Thailand’s northern provinces of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai[1] where they constitute one of the largest of the hill tribes. Many of their villages can be visited by tourists on trekking tours from either of these cities.

The Akha speak Akha, a language in the Loloish (Yi) branch of the Tibeto-Burman family. Akha language is closely related language to the Lisu and it is conjectured that the Akha once belonged to the Lolo hunter tribe people that once ruled the Baoshan and Tengchong plains before the invasion ofMing Dynasty (A.D 1644) in Yunnan, China.

 

Wedding Day – Habibah Hafeez

photo 1

 

“I’m an administrative assistant, a wife, and mother of two beautiful boys.  Beautifully Wrapped means being fashionable, fierce, and confident while keeping in mind that I am a Muslimah first and foremost. :)  Something people wouldn’t know from looking at me: As a child I was bullied about my skin tone so I make it a point to let my kids and other children know that they should love themselves because everyone is beautiful. ” – Habibah Hafeez

“I Speak for my self” – Kwanzaa Day 2

 

1506055_10152108091143909_2121817330_nCall: Habari Gani?! (What’s going on?)
Response: Kujichagulia! [koo-jee-chah-goo-lee-yuh]

 

December 27th was the second day of the Kwanzaa celebration, and it is focused on self-determination. Self-determination means: 

“to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves”

In visiting the Kwanzaa celebrations around town, you find so many beautifully wrapped sisters, all of various faiths, but believers in the oneness of creation and the oneness of our Creator.  The picture above is of a Muslim (Zarinah, the founder of BW) and a Christian (Sabrina of the God of the Land Church).  As Beautifully Wrapped is about redefining beauty, we especially appreciate the reminder to create for ourselves!

Unity!

 

I found Islam at a Janazah – Tameka Romeo

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My name is Tameka and I reside in Trinidad. I reverted to Islam 8 years ago after attending the janazah of a relative. Strangely enough, this photograph was taken at a photo shoot which was inspired by the loss of yet another loved one on 28th August 2010; she was buried on the 3rd September which was my 29th birthday and that made it especially painful, one can appreciate that there was no joy to be had. It was then that I promised myself that if Allah granted me another year, I would have a shoot to celebrate the joy of my 30th birthday in 2011. The photos were taken at my home by a good high school friend of mine and professional photographer named Arvin. With the help of my wonderful friends Licolle (makeup), Colleen and Samuel who made sure my ‘kit’ was on point and also my mother who was most present helping things along with humour, we made it happen and we had BLAST! The orange wrap was the first look I did that night and I wanted to do something ornate but we were pressed for time so I just made a simple tie and draped it over my shoulder.  I treat my wraps as if they were hair and when time permits I really enjoy figuring out new ways to make them look trendy, it actually helps break the misconception that many people have about muslim women being oppressed, drab and boring. Though some disagree about how I cover my hair or whether a muslim woman should even wear colour, I feel as long as I carry myself in a respectable manner and remain humble that nothing is wrong in taking pride in my appearance. I’ve found complete peace in knowing that Allah know’s my heart and my intention and that’s all I need.

Trinadad and Tobago – Shaeeda Sween

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“I am a hijab stylist in Trinidad and Tobago styling mostly for Islamic occasions and weddings. My inordinate obsession with fashion is finally coming out! I feel comfortable in my skin as an Afro mix Trinidadian, promoting modesty in all that I’m doing.
My head wrap is a stretch satin piece of fabric, I got roses (ready-made and hand made) and put them on the right side and added a necklace to hang down in the front.” – Shaeeda Sween