Why Do Men Wear Keffiyeh?
For centuries, Arabian men have adorned headdresses known as keffiyeh. This square-shaped scarf, comprised of a blend of cotton and wool, has a long and fascinating history. While today, it is worn by both males and females, initially, it was worn only by men. Let’s take a look at what this headdress symbolizes, and particularly why it’s worn by men.
History of the Keffiyeh
The wearing of keffiyeh is believed to date back to 3000 BC, when the Babylonian and Mesopotamian high priests wore it as a way to signify their rank, power, and honor. Later, it was worn by peasant farmers who wore the garb to protect themselves from the high winds and extreme heat and sun of the desert region.
For much of history, the keffiyeh has been worn as a protective head covering; however, in the 1930s, it also become known as a symbol of solidarity. During the British Revolt, which occurred in 1936, Palestinians wore the keffiyeh as a way to disguise their faces from authorities. In response, the authorities banned the wearing of the head covering, and to counteract the banning, Palestinians began wearing the keffiyeh so that the rebels could not be identified, as well a way to show their solidarity.
The late president of Palestine, Assar Arafat, often donned the keffiyeh , and as a result, the garb became closely tied to politics.
Why Do Men Wear Keffiyeh?
Today, both men and women can be seen wearing keffiyeh; however, throughout much of history, and even still to this day, the majority of people who wear this headdress are male. Why? The purpose varies. A large percentage of Arabian men still wear the keffiyeh to protect themselves from the sun and heat, and for no other reason; however, there are men who wear the garb as a way to signify their power or to illustrate their support of Palestinians. Still, others wear a keffiyeh as a sign of respect. It has long been customary for the people of Arabian regions to cover their heads as a sign of respect and was a part of men’s regular dress. Men from other regions outside of Palestine, also wear keffiyeh, either as a sign of solidarity, or even more commonly, it is worn simply to make a fashion statement.
The reasons men wear keffiyeh vary. Whether it’s worn to signify solidarity, because it’s a way to pay tribute to cultural heritage, to illustrate dominance, or simply for fashion purposes, one thing is for sure: men around the world wear this traditional Arabian headdress. In fact, it can be said that the keffiyeh is even more popular today than it was when it was first introduced several thousand years ago.
If you are interested in wearing a keffiyeh, take the time to research the background of this historical garment to determine if there is a specific cause that you align with and to find out how to wear it properly and respectfully.
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