How To Tie Gele In Nigeria

Table of Contents

How to Tie Gele in Nigeria: A Step-by-Step Guide

Gele is a traditional headwrap worn by women in Nigeria for special occasions like weddings, parties, and cultural events. Although it comes in different shapes, sizes, and styles, it is known for its elegance, beauty, and cultural significance. Tying gele is not only a fashion statement but also an art that requires patience, skill, and creativity. In this article, we will show you how to tie gele in Nigeria in a step-by-step guide that is easy to follow, even for beginners.

Why Gele is Important in Nigerian Culture

Gele is not just an accessory but also a symbol of cultural heritage, identity, and pride. It is worn by women of all ages and social classes, and it is often used to showcase one's fashion sense, personality, and creativity. Gele is also a form of nonverbal communication that conveys messages about one's mood, occasion, and status. For example, a big, flamboyant gele may signify joy, celebration, and confidence, while a smaller, simpler one may indicate humility, sobriety, and respect.

Materials Needed to Tie Gele

Before you begin to tie gele, you need to gather the necessary materials to make the process easier and smoother. These materials include:

  • A gele fabric (preferably made of cotton, silk, or damask) of appropriate length, width, and color
  • A hairbrush or comb to smoothen your hair
  • A hairband or scarf to hold your hair in place
  • Bobby pins or hairpins to secure the gele in place
  • A mirror to check your progress and final look
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How to Tie Gele in Nigeria: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you have all the materials ready, let's dive into the process of tying gele in Nigeria. There are several ways to tie gele, but we will focus on the most common and easiest method that you can master with practice.

Step 1: Prepare Your Hair and Head

Before you wear the gele, you need to prepare your hair and head to ensure a neat and smooth look. First, brush or comb your hair to remove any tangles or knots. Then, tie your hair in a bun or ponytail using a hairband or scarf. Alternatively, you can braid your hair and tuck the ends inside the gele.

Step 2: Fold and Wrap the Gele

Now, take the gele fabric and fold it in half lengthwise to create a long strip. Then, place the folded edge at the nape of your neck, and hold the two ends with each hand. Make sure the gele is centered and straight on your head.

Next, take the right end of the gele and wrap it around your head towards the left, making sure it covers your ear and forehead. Then, take the left end of the gele and wrap it around your head towards the right, crossing over the right end. Pull both ends tightly and adjust the folds and pleats to your liking.

Step 3: Knot and Tie the Gele

Once you have wrapped the gele around your head, tie a knot at the back of your head using the two ends. Make sure the knot is firm and secure, but not too tight or loose. You can also tuck the ends of the gele inside the knot for a cleaner look.

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Step 4: Create the Fan or Flower Shape

Now comes the fun part of creating the fan or flower shape on top of your head. To do this, hold the gele fabric from both sides of the knot, and start folding it in a fan-like or accordion-like pattern. Hold each fold firmly and add more folds until you create the desired shape and size.

You can also use bobby pins or hairpins to secure the folds in place and prevent them from unraveling. Be creative and experiment with different shapes and styles that suit your taste and occasion.

Step 5: Final Touches and Adjustments

Once you have created the fan or flower shape, use the mirror to check your final look and make any necessary adjustments. You can fluff the folds to add volume, smoothen the edges to remove wrinkles, or adjust the height and angle of the gele to match your outfit and mood.

Finally, accessorize your gele with jewelry, makeup, or clothing items that complement your look and express your personality. Congratulations, you have successfully tied gele in Nigeria!


Tying gele is not just a fashion trend but also a cultural tradition that celebrates the beauty and diversity of Nigerian women. By following this step-by-step guide, you can learn how to tie gele in Nigeria and showcase your creativity, confidence, and cultural identity. Remember to practice, be patient, and have fun with the process. Who knows, you might even discover your own unique style and become a gele queen in your community.

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  1. How long does it take to tie gele in Nigeria?
    Ans: It depends on your skill level and the complexity of the style you want to achieve. It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more.

  2. What is the best fabric for gele in Nigeria?
    Ans: The best fabric for gele in Nigeria is one that is durable, breathable, and easy to fold. Cotton, silk, and damask are some of the popular choices.

  3. Can men wear gele in Nigeria?
    Ans: Yes, men can wear gele in Nigeria, especially during cultural events and ceremonies. However, the style and size may differ from that of women.

  4. How do I remove gele without ruining my hair?
    Ans: To remove gele without ruining your hair, gently untie the knot at the back of your head, and unravel the folds one by one. Use a hairbrush or comb to smoothen your hair and remove any tangles or knots.

  5. Can I tie gele myself or do I need help?
    Ans: You can tie gele yourself if you have practiced enough and feel confident in your skills. However, it is always helpful to have someone assist you, especially if you are a beginner or want to achieve a complex style.