While the tradition behind the Moroccan Wedding Blanket can seem archaic to a lot of Westerners, they have a rich history, and look great in your home.
From a young age, a girl’s mother begins weaving a blanket out of untreated, un-dyed wool, completing the project in time for the daughter’s wedding day. The girl grows up knowing this rug is as a symbol of her future life and duties as a bride. The sequins are added not only for decorative purposes, but as a warming effect. During the day, they catch the sunlight, and in the evenings they reflect the light coming from a chimney, warming any space. The girl, often put in an arranged marriage, is wrapped in this wedding blanket as a kind of gift, and carried atop a donkey to her future husband’s home. According to tradition, the future bride cannot touch the ground until she reaches her new home. The wedding blanket is part of the daughter’s family dowry.
Today, these Moroccan wedding blankets, or Handira in Arabic, are quite sought after, so much so that women have revived the weaving tradition to sell contemporary versions on the markets. Some women are even selling their own blankets for a pretty penny; one must be careful in purchasing these, however, as fakery abounds. In the Western world, designers and amateurs alike have taken a liking to these blankets, making wall hangings out of them or laying them on the edges of their beds.
In Toronto, the Moroccan Wedding Blanket marketing board has noticed a huge increase in sales of these beautiful textiles. Because not many women in Toronto are riding through the mountains on donkeys to arranged marriages, our clients at Mellah, Moroccan Rugs are bending the rules by putting them down as rugs. Other repurposing trends are taking off too. Designers are turning them into pillows and making a couple throw cushions out of one piece. Low stools or beanbag-type floor seating is another favourite, where strips of blankets are sewn back together to cover an existing pouf.
We sell the new, commercially made versions of these blankets, but if you are interested in an authentic older piece, we can source it for you. We are one of the only shops in Toronto selling Moroccan wedding blankets, and the ones we have are good quality and attractive.
So whether you believe in the traditional use of the Moroccan Wedding Blanket or not, they are a great addition to anyone’s decor, modern or vintage.