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General Information On Middle Eastern Turbans

By Cathy Mercer

Turbans are arguably one of the most important accessories for communities living in the Middle Eastern regions. In this region, the predominant religion is Islam. This accessory has been in existence for a long period of time. They play an important role in religious, cultural and customary functions. Today, it is mainly used to uphold and preserve the Islamic culture. Despite the stereotypes and misconceptions associated with them, they ate still popular in this region. There are many designs, colors and styles of Middle Eastern turbans.

They are simply long and slender fabrics that are worn to cover the head. There are various ways in which they can be wrapped around the head. The styles and colors are selected depending on the occasion or event at hand. Colorful turbans are worn during celebratory events and are usually embellished with jewelry and shiny fabrics to suit the mood of the occasion. Plain headgears and those with muted colors are suitable for sad events such as funerals.

There is no set design or color for these turbans. The most common colors are orange, green, black, navy blue and white. It is believed that green and white are the colors of paradise. They are made using different materials to make them affordable and meet the varied tastes and preferences. The common materials include fine muslin, silk, cotton and synthetics. Regardless of the material used, they are always fashionable.

The different colors and designs signify the various sects and social classes in these societies. Muslim religious scholars and leaders wear white wraps. Individuals believed to be direct descendants of Prophet Muhammad wear black ones. Green headgears are common in Saudi Arabia where they are worn for business meetings and during prayers. The predominant color in Egypt, Libya and Sudan is white.

In this region men have two main options which are Amamah and Keffiyeh. These turbans are wrapped in different ways and are made using different materials. They are used for similar functions.

Traditionally, they signify self-respect and royalty. It is considered to be a modest way of dressing that signifies devotion, self-respect, manhood among other values. Tall and pleated headgears symbolize wealth and prosperity. The Quran requires Muslims to wear these wraps as way of emulating Prophet Muhammad.

It is mandatory for women of Islamic faith to conceal their heads and disguise their faces. For this reason, most of them rely on the turban hijab. This is compulsory especially if they are going to public places such as weddings and parties. In other regions of the world it is used as a headgear for chemo patients.

Middle Eastern turbans are used for various other purposes. They are used as shawls to mask or disguise the face. Travellers in the deserts convert them into makeshift pillows during the night. They are used to protect the face from the dust in the desert, as weapons to strangle adversaries and as a means of lowering buckets in wells and to filter water for drinking. Nomadic tribes use them to transport bundles from one place to another.

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