A turban is a type of headwear based on cloth winding. The cloth for a turban is majorly made of wool while other materials are also used. It is worn as customary headwear by people of various cultures. Turban-wearing traditions can be found in the Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. The people of Nigeria in West Africa are not left out in the use of turban. Wearing turban is common among Islamic scholars and clerics, Northern traditional leaders, and women. The headgear also serves as a religious observance, including among Shia Muslims, who regard turban-wearing as Sunnah Mu’akkadah. Here are the major ways by which Nigerians adorn turbans:
- FOR RELIGIOUS PURPOSES: Turban is worn by Islamic clerics such as Imams and Sheikhs. This headdress is adorned in emulation of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) who is believed to have worn a black or white turban. It is a popular clothing accessory worn by his religious followers all over Nigeria especially in the Northern States. Ilorin in Kwara State which is said to be home of Islamic clerics is very popular with people adorning the turban. Turbans of different colors are wrapped around the head in multiple fashions on their robes. Apart from the Muslims that majorly adorn the turban, some Christians, especially women, also wear a turban on their heads. Prophetess and other religious women adorn the turban in a similar way to the Hebrews in which Christianity has roots.
- FOR FASHION: Apart from the religious and customary traditional purposes of the turban, nowadays, it is used by women for fashion. These days, velvet is the latest material used to make turbans and it is trending nationwide. Nigerian fashionistas use the turban in style. Turbans used with velvet have redefined elegance and stands out among other types of head wraps in Africa. This has been seen in events, churches and social outings, with ladies ditching the old form of gele. Men are also not left out; Nigerians who keep their hair (dreadlocks) and beards in the ways of the Rastafarian movement also adorn turbans. This turban is used to cover dreadlocks so as to protect and keep it clean. Just like late Ras Kimono, Daddy Showkey, and so on, some Rastafarian-Nigerian men are seen wearing turbans.
- FOR CULTURAL PURPOSES: Nigerian traditional rulers from the Northern parts also adorn turbans. Traditional leaders such as the Emir of Kano, Sultan of Sokoto have their heads wrapped with turbans. There is a popular ceremony in the Kano Emirates called ‘’Turbanning the Emir’’ where the crème de la crème in the society are present. This event involves the Emir being dressed in the turban in a sign of royalty as a chieftaincy title. Eminent Nigerians are also adorned with traditional titles called ‘’Turbanning Ceremony’’.