A Gele is a flat piece of fabric (typically Aso Oke (Jean-like fabric), Brocade (Starched Cotton fabric), African Print, Paper-like fabric with plain or bold patterns (Sego, Jubilee, and More are some brand names of the paper-like fabric), Damask (heavily patterned Paper-like, Velvet-like fabric) and so on) wrapped by hand to form a hat.
Geles are worn by African Women to complement their African Attire. A Gele is usually the highlight of an appearance. A nicely tied Gele can compensate for a not so great looking outfit. A Gele is categorized as a clothing accessory amongst African Women.
According to the Yoruba tradition, the way a Gele is tied can indicate a woman’s marital status. A Gele’s end leaning to the right indicates a Woman is married and a Gele’s end leaning to the left indicates a Woman is Single.
However, in society today, especially in the Urban areas, there is no defined indication of a Woman’s marital status by the way she ties her Gele.
African Women can be very particular on how they want their Gele tied. Some like them tied in levels to stand really high while some like them tied in a more conservative way.
Geles are indeed very beautiful and fascinating when tied. Geles have gotten the attention of millions of people in different countries around the world from Africa to Europe, from Europe to North America, South America and all over the world.
Many non-Africans wear Geles as a sign of reverence when attending African events, some as a part of their everyday wear and some that have gotten a soft spot for the Yoruba Culture.
A Gele’s length can range from 8″ wide and 54″ Long (African Print) to 34″ wide and 72″ Long (Gele Paper-like Head-tie) to 20″ wide and 80″ long (Aso-Oke) and more.