M’laya and haik day in Constantine: Symbols of Algerian identity in the spotlight

M’laya and haik day in Constantine: Symbols of Algerian identity in the spotlight
M’laya and haik day in Constantine: Symbols of Algerian identity in the spotlight

In a parade organized in the city, women proudly wore these two veils, sometimes revisited with contemporary fabrics, adapting to the times, while preserving their authenticity.

Constantine, a thousand-year-old city of the old Rock, was adorned in its finest attire to celebrate the Day of the M’laya and the Haik, an emblematic event which honored these two traditional Algerian veils and their rich cultural heritage . This event celebrated, for a day, the splendor of traditional Algerian costume and its invaluable role in the preservation of national identity.

Much more than a simple clothing effect, the m’laya and the haik embody the soul of Algeria. Their united shapes and colors tell millennia-old stories, weaving an unwavering bond between generations and perpetuating ancestral traditions. With a unique and varied style depending on the region, this garment has experienced vicissitudes over time. Having fallen into disuse in the 1990s, a victim of fashion changes and globalization, it came close to being forgotten.

It was then that the National Museum of Arts and Traditional Cultural Expressions – Palais Ahmed Bey took the initiative to rehabilitate it, aware of its inestimable heritage value. Under the evocative slogan: “Tell me Constantine: the m’laya and the haik, heritage and story”, the demonstration brought together a large crowd, notably young women, even from the diaspora, who came to parade in m’laya and haik in the picturesque streets of the old town of Constantine. Their joyful ululations resonated like a hymn to the preservation of this heritage treasure.

Far from being a simple folkloric walk, the day of the m’laya and the haik is a real journey through time. The participants’ steps revived memories of the 1970s and 1980s, a time when the m’laya and the haik gracefully adorned the streets of Algeria. We could easily imagine the women of yesteryear, draped in this outfit, walking in the lively souks or meeting in the flower-filled patios. This day is not just a nostalgic look back to the past. It is also a celebration of the present and an invitation to hold high the symbols of national identity.

A moment of sharing

The participants proudly wore the m’laya and haik of their ancestors, sometimes revisited with contemporary fabrics, demonstrating the ability of these clothes to adapt to the times while preserving their authenticity. Some of them also insisted on correcting some historical facts, like the occasion of the wearing of the m’laya, which has nothing to do with the death of Salah Bey.

Ms. Meriem Guebaïlia, director of the Ahmed Bey Palace museum in Constantine, launched an appeal to bring the m’laya and the haik into every home, wearing them at least once a week. Its ambition is to take them out of museum windows and bring them back to daily life, thus raising awareness among new generations of this precious part of Algerian heritage.

This day is also a moment of sharing and conviviality. After the parade, the participants gathered around a copper tray garnished with traditional cakes, respecting the customs and good manners of Constantine through the rituals of the famous “Qahwet El Asser” (the coffee of afternoon). A hymn to the transmission of values ​​and sharing, perfectly illustrating the spirit of this memorable day.

This third edition, crowned with success, is part of a promising dynamic. Ms. Guebaïlia has already announced the holding of annual editions, placing the event under the seal of history and memory.

An unmissable event for all those who cherish the soul and identity of Algeria. M’laya and haik day is much more than a simple cultural event. It is an ode to Algerian heritage, a call for the preservation of traditions and an invitation to fly the colors of national identity. An event that resonates as a hymn to the beauty, richness and diversity of Algerian culture.



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