Traditional Head Dresses for Men

The kufiya, also known as a ghutrah, ḥaṭṭahshemagh  is a traditional Arab headdress 

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The kufiya is fashioned from a square, usually cotton, scarf. It is typically worn by Arab men, as well as some Kurds. It is commonly found in arid regions to provide protection from direct sun exposure, as well to protect the mouth and eyes from blown dust and sand. Its distinctive woven check pattern may have originated in an ancient Mesopotamian representation of either fishing nets or ears of grain.

 

The black-and-white keffiyeh is a symbol of Palestinian heritage. The red-and-white keffiyeh is worn throughout these regions as well as in Somalia, but is most strongly associated with Jordan, where it is known as shemagh mhadab. The Jordanian keffiyeh has decorative cotton or wool tassels on the sides It is believed that the bigger these tassels, the more value it has and the higher a person’s status . It has been used by Bedouins throughout the centuries and was used as a symbol of honor and tribal identification. The tasseled red and white Jordanian and Palestinian shemagh is much thicker than the red and white shemagh used in the Gulf countries (no tassels).

Prior to 1930s village men wore several layers of headwear. First a white cotton skull cap (taqiyeh), then white or grey felt cap (libbadeh or kubb`ah) then soft, rounded tarbush maghribi with a tassel.

Urban men and Ottoman officials wore tarbush istambuli - tall and stiff.

The tarbush was wrapped with a plain white cloth then the laffeh (turban) on top. The turban colour signified such things as the wearer was a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad (green), a Samaritan (red), or a Jew (black). But the most common colours were yellow, brown and orange. Older men tended to wear white.

From 1930s village men adopted the Bedouin keffiyeh as a symbol of nationalism. Initially these were white but later black and white or red and white checks became common. After 1967 Arafats's black and white keffiyeh adopted widely.

Bedouins do not wear turbans but rather hattah or keffiyeh. Sometimes with a taqiyeh.

Boys only wore taqiyeh - or in some villages more elaborate caps.

 


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