Cultural implication of Shermagh?
Thread poster: RafaLee
Local time: 16:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 7, 2005

Dear Prozians,

Can anyone please tell me the actual cultural implications of "shermagh" in Middle East?

Do they wear it only in certain occasions?

Please explain, Shukran Kateer


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:27
English to Arabic
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Shemagh Jan 7, 2005

Hi RafaLee
I don't think the "shemagh" (not shermagh) has any cultural implications, other than it is a traditional headdress in many Arab countries (esp. Arab Gulf countries, Palestine and Jordan)

This might interest you:
"Crocheted from fine cotton, the keffiya is essential to provide a firm foundation upon which to drape the ghutra. The square-shaped ghutra can be made from a large selection of fabrics, weights and designs. White is the favorite summer color and is made from a fine cotton voile. The traditional white wool blend, a heavier cotton blend or the red and white checkered cloth (shemagh) is worn in the winter. The agal, a double circlet of twisted black wool or nylon cord, anchors
the headdress on the head."

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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:27
English to Arabic
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Add to Nesrin's Good Comment Jan 9, 2005


This adds to Nesrin's good comment and included URL.

The "shemagh" (also called in various countries as "kaffiya" or "ghuTra") is a customary item of male headgear.

There are some observable distinctive styles of how the shemagh is folded and worn on (or in Iraqi Kurdistan, rolled and then wrapped around) the wearer's head, plus some regional variants in its wear among males in the main parts of Saudi Arabia: Nejd/Nefud, Hijaz, Tihama/Asir, and Eastern Province.

Some slight variants of its wear are also observable in Qatar, UAE and Oman. There is one excellent descriptive book (expansion of a Ph.D. dissertation and its associated field research) about styles of personal fashion and adornment in the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf region published by AUB Press in the mid-1980s and later distributed in the US by Syracuse U. Press.

Another useful, and detailed, reference is the late H.R.P. Dicksons's book entitled "The Arab of the Desert" (a UK publication and recently reprinted) that covers the fashions by local Arabs in Kuwait and southern Iraq.



Stephen H. Franke
San Pedro, California

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