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The Keffiyeh – What it Is and What it Signifies

Keffiyehs or kufiyas are a customary Middle Eastern turban formed from a square-shaped scarf, typically of cotton material. It is also known by its other name like the ghutrah, hattah, shemagh, mashadah, cemedani, or chafiye. These are typically worn among the Arabs, in addition to other Mizrahi Jews and the nomads of Iran (especially among the Kurds. It is often found in dry regions because it offers protection from dust, sand, and sunburn. While its unique pattern, which is the ordinary woven checkered, is presumed to have originated from a Mesopotamian representation in the old days of either ears of grain or fishing nets, the actual origin of the pattern is still undertermined.

Varieties and Distinctions

Ordinary Keffiyeh
A piece that comes in white/black/orange fabric fashioned out of wool as well cotton seen primarily among Palestinians. The combination of these two materials promotes quick drying, in addition to keeping the user’s head warm, if preferred.

Shemagh
The shemagh represents an ancient headgear tradition in the Middle East. A piece of material, usually cotton or flax as well decorated with lots of colors, but very often red as well as white, which is primarily used by Saudi Arabians in addition to Jordanians. This type of keffiyeh has cotton or woolen tassel decorations on the borders; the bigger the tassels, the more valuable garment is supposed to be and the greater the importance of the individual wearing such.

Ghutrah
A piece of cotton mild white cloth, donned in the western parts of Iraq as well as by the Arabs belonging to the Persian gulf regions.

Rezza
This type of keffiyeh is typical among the North Africans and Egyptians.

Keffiyehs are worn by men, young and old alike, on the head if not around their shoulders.

Keffiyeh Fashion

Just like all other wartime clothing articles, for instance the fatigues, T-shirt, and khaki pants, keffiyehs have been popular among the Western, non-Arab citizens. The keffiyeh became famous in the USA when bohemian females and punks donned keffiyehs like scarves all-around their necks when the First Intifada was stared in the late ’80s. In early 2000s, the keffiyeh became highly popular among the younger ones in Tokyo, and they often wore them alongside camouflage clothing. Such a fashion trend resurfaced in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia in mid-2000 when keffiyehs became a popular fashion accessory, often used like a scarf all-around the neck in hipster groups. The keffiyeh is often worn to symbolize solidarity with Palestinian struggles, although its pattern as well as style has been converted into daily clothing designs by the fashion industry.

Keffiyeh for sale are easily accessible in stores via the Internet.
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