A Little Lesotho Love Story. Part 3.
The secret language of the Lesotho Blanket
How a blanket is worn can tell you a story about a person...their gender, age, family status even wealth. It is the secret language of Lesotho blankets.
Women and men wear their blankets differently. Men will knot their blanket over their shoulder. They can use a pin, but then they try to make sure it is not visible. Women, wear the blanket pinned in the front. Historically, this allowed them to still easily work using their hands and to look after the children, even breastfeed. The woman generally takes great care to match up the designs that meet at the centre on her chest.
The stripes on the blanket were originally a manufacturing mistake in the last 1800's, but became a feature people enjoyed! The stripes should be worn vertically to symbolize growth and strength. Wearing the stripes horizontally is considered bad luck.
Young women before marriage must cover their shoulders, and the folded flap of the blanket is worn on the inside. Once she marries, she wraps the blanket around her waist. This is said to help keep her warm and welcoming for her new husband as well as protecting a baby should she conceive. Throughout her pregnancy, she will continue to wear the blanket around her waist to protect and keep the baby warm. Once the baby is born, the mother and father will no doubt receive many blankets as gifts for them and their baby. She reverts to wearing the blanket around her shoulders but now she can wear the folded flaps on the outside.
A man or woman may also wear more than one blanket and this is often a sign of their wealth.
The Mosotho people are a great nation, rich in history and their blankets are deeply woven with beautiful stories.