Thawb

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Arab men wearing thawbs in Salalah, Oman. Dishdasha.jpg
Arab men wearing thawbs in Salalah, Oman.

A thawb or thobe (Arabic : ثَوْب), also called a Qamīṣ (Arabic : قَمِيص Somali : khamis), is an ankle-length garment, usually with long sleeves, similar to a robe, kaftan or tunic. It is commonly worn in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, neighbouring Arab countries, the southern and south-western ports and Islands of Iran, and some countries in East and West Africa. A sirwal or pants, izaar or lungi are typically worn underneath.

Contents

Background

The word thawb is the standard Arabic word for 'a garment'. It is traditional clothing style for men. It is sometimes spelled thobe or thaub. It is a tunic, generally long. The word is used specifically for this garment in Arab States of the Persian Gulf and some areas in the south of Egypt. There has been some debate regarding the correct length of the thawb.

Prevalence

The thawb is commonly worn by men in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and other Arab countries in the Persian Gulf. It is normally made of cotton, but heavier materials such as sheep's wool can also be used, especially in colder climates in Iraq and Syria. [1] The style of the thawb varies slightly among the various regions within the Persian Gulf region. The sleeves and the collar can be stiffened to give a more formal appearance. Other names may be used for this garment. In Iraq, Kuwait, the Levant, and Oman, dishdasha is the most common word for the garment; in the UAE, the word kandura is used. In Morocco, the sleeves tend to be much shorter so that the thawb may seem more like a long T-shirt and is locally called gandora. The neck also tends to be more open than in its Saudi counterpart and, along with the breast pocket, is often embroidered. It might also lack buttons altogether.

The term thawb is also used to refer to similar women's garments. [2] . In the lead up to Independence (1956–present), new styles of thobes became fashionable as Sudanese women "expressed their growing opportunities and desires through fashion." [3] The traditional Palestinian woman's long tunic is also a thobe. This style originated in the early 19th century and is richly embroidered, with different colours and patterns signifying various aspects of the wearer's social position. [4] Since the Nakba, or 1948 Palestinian exodus, the thobe has also come to represent Palestinian political identity. [5] Another example is a very long, oversized woman's garment with a heavily embroidered front panel and billowing back, also known as a Khaleeji dress, which is most commonly seen in the West[ where? ] worn for performance of the Saudi women's social-style dances, in which manipulation of the large thawb is a key component.

This garment is also known as Kanzu in Swahili, and is commonly worn on the Swahili Coast by Swahili men.

Name variations

Region/countryLanguageMain
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain & Palestine Hejazi Arabic, Najdi Arabic, Bahraini Arabic, Palestinian Arabic Thawb (ثَوْب), Thoeb
Levant, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Iran Levantine, Iraqi, Khuzestani, Omani & Kuwaiti Arabic; Persian Dishdāshah (دِشْدَاشَة), Deshdāsheh (دِشْدَاشِه)
UAE Emirati/Gulf Arabic Kandūrah (كَنْدُورَة)
Yemen Yemeni Arabic Thaob (ثَوْب)
Upper Egypt, Libya, Chad & Sudan Upper Egyptian, Libyan, Chadian & Sudanese Arabic Jilābiyah (جِلَابِيَة)
Maghreb Maghrebi Arabic, Berber Gandora, Djellaba (جِلَّابَة), Aselham
Greater Somalia Somali Khamiis, Jelabiyad, Qamiis
Ethiopia Amharic, Afaan Oromoo Jelebeeya, Mudawwar
Eritrea Tigrinya Jehllubeeya
Indo-Malay Peninsula Indonesian, Malay Jubah, Gamis
Afghanistan Dari, Pashto Pērâhan (پیراهن),(kharqay)
Pakistan, India Urdu Jubbah (جُبَّه)
Bengal Bengali Thub, Jubbah
Israel Hebrew Kethoneth (כתונת)
Turkey Turkish Cübbe, Savb, Sob
Swahili Coast Swahili Kanzu
Senegal Wolof Khaftaan, Mbubb

Other occasions

A thawb is sometimes worn with a bisht (Arabic : بِشْت), also known in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula as a mishlah (Arabic : مِشْلَح) or ʿabāʾ (Arabic : عَبَاء), meaning 'cloak'. It is usually worn in ceremonial occasions or by officials. A bisht is usually worn by religious clergy, but can also be worn in a wedding, Eids and funerals. It may refer to a status of wealth and royalty, or sometimes a religious position. It was originally manufactured in Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it is usually worn in Jordan, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula.

According to H. R. P. Dickson, [6] Bedouin women would mount a brightly coloured thawb on a pole in front of a tent in order to welcome home a traveller or an important person coming to visit. [2]

Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan and the first Palestinian-American woman elected to that body, wore a thawb to her swearing-in ceremony on January 3, 2019. [7] This inspired a number of Palestinian and Palestinian-American women to share pictures on social media with the hashtag #TweetYourThobe. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Folk costume expression of identity through costume, which is usually associated with a geographic area or a period of time in history

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Kaftan long, coatlike garment, traditionally fastened at the waist with a sash

A kaftan or caftan is a variant of the robe or tunic, and has been worn in a number of cultures around the world for thousands of years and is of Asiatic origin. In Russian usage, kaftan instead refers to a style of men's long suit with tight sleeves. Used by many Middle Eastern ethnic groups, the kaftan is ancient Mesopotamian in origin. It may be made of wool, cashmere, silk, or cotton, and may be worn with a sash.

Tunic simple T-shaped or sleeveless garment, usually unfitted, of archaic origin

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Abaya Simple, loose over-garment wore by women, especially Muslim women

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Hejazi turban

The Hejazi turban, also spelled Hijazi turban or known as the Arabian turban, is a type of the turban headdress native to the region of Hejaz in modern-day western Saudi Arabia.

Senegalese kaftan

A Senegalese kaftan is a pullover men's robe with long bell sleeves. In the Wolof language, this robe is called a mbubb or xaftaan and in French it is called a boubou. The Senegalese caftan is an ankle length garment. It is worn with matching drawstring pants called tubay in Wolof. Normally made of cotton brocade, lace, or synthetic fabrics, these robes are common throughout West Africa. A kaftan and matching pants is called a kaftan suit. The kaftan suit can be worn with a kufi cap. Senegalese kaftans are formal wear in all West African countries. In the United States, some merchants sell this robe as a Senegalese style dashiki pant set or a full length dashiki pant set. Men who are members of the Hausa tribe, wear these kaftans to formal events like naming ceremonies and weddings. In the United States, a kaftan is one of three formal suits, equivalent to the tuxedo, that African-American grooms select for their weddings. The other styles being the dashiki pant set, and the grand boubou, pronounced gran boo-boo. There are various other formal robes that are worn throughout West Africa, and with the exception of the Yoruba Gbarie robe, pronounced barry, most of these are a form of Islamic dress, see sartorial hijab. The kaftan is worn by Christians, African Jews, Muslims, and followers of African traditional religion. Furthermore, Senegalese kaftans are common among men of African descent in the African diaspora. The Senegalese kaftan is men's attire. In West Africa, and the United States, this robe is not worn by women. The women's robe is called a kaftan.

Palestinian costumes traditional clothing of the Palestinians

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Rashida Tlaib American politician from Michigan

Rashida Harbi Tlaib is an American politician and lawyer serving as the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district since 2019. The district includes the western half of Detroit, along with several of its western suburbs and much of the Downriver area. A member of the Democratic Party, Tlaib represented the 6th and 12th districts of the Michigan House of Representatives before her election to Congress.

Kanzu

A kanzu is a white or cream coloured robe worn by men in the African Great Lakes region. It is referred to as a tunic in English, and as the Thawb in Arab countries. The kanzu is an ankle or floor length garment. It serves as the national costume of Tanzania as well as the Comoros, where it is called/pronounced 'Kandu' as well as thawb. The robe is also worn in some coastal Muslim regions of Tanzania and Kenya. The men of Uganda in Uganda consider it their most important dress. Kanzu is a Ganda word of Swahili origin, which means "robe" or "tunic". In Tanzania, the term is used interchangeably with kaftan.

Saudis or Saudi Arabians are a nation composed mainly of Arab ethnic groups which are native to the Arabian Peninsula and live in the five historical Regions: Najd, Al-Hijaz, Asir, Tihama and Al-Ahsa; the regions which Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded on or what was formerly known as the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd in the Arabian Peninsula. Saudis speak one of the accents and dialects of the Peninsular Arabic, including the Hejazi, Najdi, Gulf and Southern Arabic dialects, as a mother tongue. According to the 2010 A.D.census, Saudi nationals represented approximately 19,335,377 making up 74.1% of the total population. Saudi Arabia is a state governed by absolute monarchy, with the king as its head of state. The word Saudis refer to the name of the ruling family in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today as an inclusive name for the people of the five regions:.

Khaleegy (dance) Folkloric dance of the Persian Gulf

Khaleegy or Khaliji is a mixture of modern style and traditional folkloric dance from the Persian Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The name of the dance literally means "gulf" in Arabic and it is performed by women at weddings and other social events. Over time it gained popularity among belly dancers.

Agal (accessory) band or string worn by men to secure a keffiyeh or headcloth


An agal, also spelled iqal, egal or igal, is an accessory worn usually by Arab men. It is a black cord, worn doubled, used to keep a ghutrah in place on the wearer's head. It is traditionally made of goat hair.

Bisht (clothing) Outer cloak

A bisht or mishlaḥ or ʿabāʾ is a traditional men’s cloak popular in the Arab world. It is a flowing outer cloak worn over a thawb. It is usually black, brown, beige, cream or grey in colour. It is usually worn by secular officials or clergy. It is a status garment, associated with royalty, religious position, wealth, and ceremonial occasions. A bisht is usually worn for prestige on special occasions such as weddings, or festivals such as Eid, or for Jumʿah prayers or funerals. In Iraq it is worn by tribal chiefs. The bisht is also worn by East African nobility, including tribal chiefs, kings, and imams, over a kanzu or tunic.

Keffiyeh mans square headcloth, usually of cotton, often folded into a triangle and traditionally secured on the head with an agal

The keffiyeh or kufiya, also known as a ghutrah (غُترَة), shemagh, ḥaṭṭah (حَطَّة), mashadah (مَشَدَة), chafiye, dastmal yazdi or cemedanî, is a traditional Arabian headdress, or what is sometimes called a habit, that originated in the Arabian Peninsula, and is now worn throughout the Middle-East region. It is fashioned from a square scarf, and is usually made of cotton. The Keffiyeh is commonly found in arid regions, as it provides protection from sunburn, dust and sand. Toward the end of the 1980s, the keffiyeh became a fashion accessory in the United States and, during the early 2000s it became very popular among teenagers in Tokyo, Japan, where it is often worn with camouflage-style clothing.

Jellabiya Traditional Egyptian garment

The Jalabiya or "galabeya" is a traditional Egyptian garment native to the Nile Valley. The same term used to refer to the traditional Sudanese and Eritrean clothes, but both look different from the popular Egyptian garment which is worn by both Egyptian males and females and is much more colorful.

Litham

Litham is a mouth-veil which the Tuareg and other North African nomads, particularly men, have traditionally used to cover the lower part of their face.

References

  1. Jirousek, Charlotte (2004). "Islamic Clothing". Art, Design, and Visual Thinking. Charlotte Jirousek. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  2. 1 2 Campbell, Kay Hardy; Corman, Leela (March–April 2016). "The Gown That Steals Your Heart". Aramco World. 67 (2): 24–25.
  3. "'Khartoum at Night' looks at Sudanese history through fashion". University of Kansas Department of History. University of Kansas. August 9, 2017. Retrieved May 25, 2019. expressed their growing opportunities and desires through fashion.
  4. Debre, Isabel (February 12, 2019). "Iconic Palestinian robe fashions a new political symbol". AP News. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  5. Debre, Isabel (February 12, 2019). "Iconic Palestinian robe fashions a new political symbol". AP News. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  6. Dickson, H.R.P. (2015). The Arab of the desert : a glimpse into Badawin life in Kuwait and Sau'di Arabia. New York, NY: Routledge. OCLC   919302946.
  7. Jennings, Rebecca (January 4, 2018). "Rashida Tlaib's thobe and Ilhan Omar's hijab are making congressional history". Vox .
  8. Zrarick, Karen (January 3, 2018). "As Rashida Tlaib Is Sworn In, Palestinian-Americans Respond With #TweetYourThobe". The New York Times .