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Culture of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)


The diverse culture of Ivory Coast, a coastal West African country bordered by Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.



Masks are a prevalent art form in Ivory Coast. The variety and intricacy of masks created by the people of Ivory Coast is rivaled by none. Masks have many purposes. They are used mostly for representative reasons; they can symbolize lesser deities, the souls of the deceased, and even caricatures of animals. 

They are considered sacred and very dangerous; as such, only certain powerful individuals and families are permitted to own them, and only specially-trained individuals may wear the masks. 

It is held to be dangerous for others to wear ceremonial masks, because it is believed that each mask has a soul, or life force, and that when a person’s face comes in contact with the inside of the mask, the person is transformed into the entity the mask represents. The Baoulé, the Dan (or Yacouba) and the Senoufo are all known for their wooden carvings.


The music of Ivory Coast includes music genres of many ethnic communities, often characterised by vocal polyphony especially among the Baoulé, talking drums especially among the Nzema people and by the characteristic polyrhythms found in rhythm in Sub-Saharan Africa.Popular music genres from Ivory Coast include zoblazo, zouglou and Coupé-Décalé.


As in most of the developing world, people wear both traditional and Western clothes. In cities and towns, most people wear Western clothing—pants or blue jeans and shirts. However, many women still wear the traditional brightly colored dresses (pagnes) with matching head scarves. Traditional clothing is most common in the rural areas. Women wear pagnes or blouses with long pieces of cloth that they wrap around themselves as skirts. Men wear shorts or wrap short pieces of cloth around their bodies. Many men have long, beautiful robes for ceremonial occasions.


The traditional diet in Ivory Coast is very similar to that of neighboring countries in its reliance on grains and tubers, but Ivorians have a particular kind of small, open-air restaurant called a maquis that is unique to them. Attiéké (grated cassava) is a popular Ivorian side dish.

Maquis normally feature braised chicken and fish smothered in onions and tomatoes, served with attiéké, or kedjenou, a chicken dish made with vegetables and a mild sauce. One of the tastiest street-vended foods is aloko, which is ripe banana in palm oil, spiced with steamed onions and chili, and eaten alone or with grilled fish. Bangui is a local palm wine.


Ivory Coast (French: Côte d’Ivoire) is a multilingual country. One estimate of the number of languages spoken there are 78.The official language, French, was introduced during the colonial period. This language is taught in schools and serves as a lingua franca in the country.


Côte d’Ivoire has enjoyed a long history of storytelling, primarily because of its high illiteracy rate. By passing on traditional poetry, folktales, and myths, the storytellers, called griots by the Malike, impart societal values, history, and religion. French is the dominant language for written literature, as little exists in native languages.


A number of examples of French Colonial architecture can be seen in Grand Bassam. Although some buildings are in need of renovation others are well maintained.
Yamoussoukro is famous for the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, one of the biggest churches in the world. There is also a large mosque.The commercial centre of Abidjan is a modern city with office blocks, apartment buildings and a modern cathedral.


By far the most important sport in Côte d’Ivoire is soccer (called football ). It is played throughout the country.


The Ivorian government recognizes the following holidays: New Year’s Day (1 January), Labor Day (1 May), Assumption (15 August), All Saints’ Day (1 November), Independence Day (celebrated on 7 December), and Christmas (25 December). Movable religious holidays that vary based on the Islamic lunar calendar include Id al-Fitr and Id al-Adha , as well as the Christian holidays based on the Gregorian calendar, such as Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, and Pentecost Monday.


Cote d’Ivoire is heavily dependent on agriculture and related activities. Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil. Cocoa, oil, and coffee are the country’s top export revenue earners, but the country is also producing gold. The Ivory Coast export business works with markets such as Spain, Netherlands, Italy, France, India, Germany, the UK, Morocco, Senegal, and Ireland.