The traditional Arabic headdress goes by several names. It is called a keffiyeh, shmagh, ghutrah and an Arabic scarf. It can be worn in several different ways, either by itself or with a cap (igal) and wreath (tagiyyah) to keep it in place. The scarf was initially used to protect from the harsh rays of the sun and the whipping sands of the desert--it still serves that purpose, but has now become a symbol of Arabic culture. It is also worn at weddings and by heads of state, when it serves a purely decorative function. The scarf is a large cotton square that is woven in a distinctive checkered design. It is usually red and white, or white and black.
Wear an Arabic Headdress
Place the cap (igal) on your head.
Place the scarf on top of your head so that there are couple of inches of fabric hanging down over your forehead.
Place the wreath over your head. Wearing the scarf open like this is a formal way worn at weddings. Proceed to steps four and five for two other ways to wear it.
Take the right-hand-side corner of the scarf and drape it over your left shoulder (from front to back), as seen in www.zee.me. You can leave it like this or proceed to step five.
Take the left-hand-side corner and drape it over the left shoulder, covering the draping of the right-hand-side.
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- "Approaches to the Study of Dress in the Middle East", Lindisfarne-Tapper, Nancy; Ingham, Bruce, 1997
- Zee Me: How to Wear a Ghotra (Arabic head dress)
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