Tuesday, May 15, 2012

[ arab dress ]

EVER wonder why Arab men wear white kanduras and Arab women wear black abayas? Well, I came across the answer while reading Abu Dhabi's The National newspaper this weekend...

Kanduras and abayas hail from the traditional dress Arabs have been wearing for centuries. The harsh desert climate meant people would choose lightweight materials to cover as much of the body as possible to protect it from the sun and sand. The loose fit gives it a modest shape and allows air to circulate. The light colour of the men's kandura came from the natural hue of cotton, although the bright white is more recent since the invention of bleach. Now other discreet colours are also worn occasionally to add a personal touch. Clothes were shaped by practicality and what resources were available. The kandura has been a wardrobe staple and there has been no practical reason to change it.

Women like to wear colourful dresses in light cotton or silk with trousers of the same material underneath. For modesty, they cover their outfits with a lightweight black abaya with a matching head scarf in public. Very thin, the black fabric still covers completely and filters UV rays from the intense sunlight. Historically, women wore black to distinguish themselves from the rest of the tribe when rival tribes would confront one another. Since women and children should not be harmed in an attack, they would gather together and it was easy to distinguish them from a distance. Nowadays many abayas are adorned with intricate embroidery and beading to personalize them.


I can see why the white works, but with temps here going as high as 120F (49C) in the summer (it's already 107F, 42C today), I can't imagine adding a black layer over my clothes no matter how thin the fabric. I don't do very well with heat. Thank goodness for air conditioning!

[sharjah news/abc news]


Formerly known as Frau said...

I was in Walmart yesterday and there was a lady in a beautiful tan linen like one....I can't imagine such temperatures....I'd never leave the A/C! Mild 72F here today...sorry not to rub it in but.....Buffalo is no paradise! Have great day or almost evening!

Privet and Holly said...

Great info and now
I can say that I know
the whole story when
I see one of these robes : )

Stay cool. Imagine you
only go out mid-day if
you absolutely have to!

Sending you mid-70's
and sunshine from Minnesota!

xo Suzanne

helen tilston said...

Good Morning

An interesting article and, like you, wearing black which is notorious for attracting heat and mosquitos seems unfair.

It is a cool 55 degrees at Southampton Ontario and Lake Huron is the most beautiful shade of turquoise, if one didn't know better it looks like the Caribbean sea.

Victoria Day weekend here (May 24 weekend, as my friend says it is named such as men buy 24 packs of beer this weekend) hee hee


Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage said...

This was so interesting to read. I agree with you. The black fabric looks like it would be so hot. Even if the fabric is thin. Here is Illinois I see some muslim women in the traditinal clothing, but the men are always wearing western style (shorts, t-shirts) clothing. I'm sure you can guess what I think about that. :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails