With its red and white stripes, the Mendil completes the outfit traditional dress of women in Fahs-Anjra province (Jbala Region - north of Morocco). This traditional weaving product has made this province famous so local athorities decided to choose it as a logo for this region.
In the province of Fahs-Anjra, the Mendil is always worn by women both inside and outside her home. Considered a masterpiece of rural weaving, this product of traditional craftsmanship that has seen improvements in recent years, continues to make the reputation of the eight rural communes of this province.
"The launch of major projects in this province, including Tangier-Med port complex has succeeded in raising awareness of the Mendil of these rural communes. The sale of this product remains their only source of income ", explains Mohamed Hamami, vice president of the Chamber of craftsmanship of the wilaya of Tangier. And to add that "The inhabitants of these rural communes have chosen to make the Mendil the only logo of their province ".
Most people in the province Fahs-Anjra practice weaving the Mendil. "This product is considered as a traditional heritage of this province.
Most houses have a "Mramma" for weaving the Mendil. And both men and women of this province are passionate about this activity.
They practice it almost every day after finishing their work in the fields. The Khemiss-Anjras souk which stands once a week, every Thursday, has become a privileged place for the exhibition and sale of Mendil, "says Jamila Iarbitin, member of the National Union of Women of Morocco (UNFM) in Khemiss-Anjra, (one of eight municipalities in Fahs-Anjra province).
She added that thanks to the Mendil, "the weekly souk of the commune Khemiss-Anjra has gained a lot of notoriety. What brought especially women and girls of different localities of this municipality to make a lot of improvements to this rural handicraft product".
With its red and white stripes, the Mendil completes the traditional dress of the woman in the province of Fahs-Anjra. "Women's clothing is constituted, in the eight rural communes, a fouta (large towel usually in white color), a chachia (hat) straw and decorated with red and green wool Pompoms and a Mendil, "says Mrs. Iarbitin.
The Mendil is usually worn around the waist. "It's a sartorial tradition that's always kept by women in the rural province of Fahs-Anjra. Even girls, who continue their studies in the big Moroccan cities or in abroad, want to wear the Mendil when they come to pass their holidays in their villages, "says Ms. Iarbitin. And of specify that "the Mendil of the rural communes of Fahs-Anjjra distinguished from that of other mountainous regions in Morocco.
The Mendil is made from cotton in this towns and is distinguished by its large
stripes. While that of other regions, including the province of Chefchaouen, is made of grained wool (mharbel) and its stripes are finer ". With the support of the Chamber of Crafts of the wilaya Tangiers and NGOs, including the UNFM, women and girls of these rural communities participated in training courses.
These meetings organized in particular within the framework of the National Initiative for human development (INDH) have allowed them to develop and
to exchange their know-how. "The rural woman is aware of the great historical and artistic value of the Mendil. She has thus contributed to the development of this product which has become multicolored but still keeps its white stripes.
This weaving product come now in different measurements and it is used as tablecloths, bedspreads, etc., " says Ms. Iarbitin.
To professionalize In this sector, women and girls from this rural province
created cooperatives. "Married women practice this activity in early morning hours especially after the Fajr prayer. What is allows to work in the fields, to take care of his children and do other housework. They can resume this activity in the evening, "reveals Ms. Iarbitin.
Rural villages of Khemississ-Anjra are famous for the production of this type of Mendil, worn during major festivals such as Tafza, Mingrala, Beni Hlou or Kalaa. "The Mendil worn for these occasions are always striped. But they are made of fine wool. And they are distinguished by some patterns embroidered by hand in silk thread, "says Ms. Iarbitin. And to point out that "Khassa has always been the embroidery of choice for such occasions. This is another technique of embroidery also done by hand, but with gold or silver threads and silk threads.
According to members of a weaving cooperation in Khemiss-Anjra, the Mendil products are very popular within bazaars and handicraft shops. It is much more bought by tourists than before. But "The rural communes of Fahs-Anjra still suffer from problems of marketing this product" concludes Ms. Iarbitin.