The burnous is a traditional clothing of the population of North Africa, Berber populations and Ibn-khaldoun. They are also called bournous; but also it has other names according to the place: as abernus, abidi or aalaw in Berber, and برنوس in Arabic. As definition the burnous is a wool coat, it is long and has no handle, but it has a pointed hood, its origin is old Berber . In Arabic, people who wear burnous are called Berbers asḥaab al-baraanis Which means friends of burnous. Nowadays, this garment is worn throughout North Africa, and it is also worn by spahis.
What does the word BURNOUS mean?
ETYMOLOGICALLY, the burnous has two meanings. Firstly for some people, the burnous named in Berber ” abernus ” is of Amazigh / Berber origin whose root is BRNS or BRN, in this first case the burnous has designated formerly a small cap which one put over the head. Second nt, for other people the term burnous is of Greek origin, coming from βίρρος [birros], which would mean: short hooded hood. The last meaning of the word burnous by Sebastián de Covarrubias is that it is a closed coat, equipped with a hood and worn during a trip. This last definition was adopted in the Iberian Peninsula, where the burnous had been used at the time of Al-Andalus after the Spanish chose to use the word burnous and change to Albornoz.
When is the burnous used?
In North Africa, the burnous carried by the population is often in white, it is rare to find black or blue burnous. It is worn as a coat, so when it is cold. There are still black burnous that are called Mascari, they are worn in the city of Mascara in Algeria, and after were exported to the Mediterranean, Turkey and even Egypt. These burnous are made by very fine wool. In Egypt, it is the Mamluks who wore burnous. In Algeria, there is also the brown burnous, made with camel hair worn by men for the mark of nobility and to symbolize power. The burnous also has other meanings like peace and purity, it is worn for several occasions: marriage or circumcision.