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A ZTraditional pieces of the male and female national costumes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE): abaya, agal, burqa, gafaaz, gishwa, gutrah, hijab, kandura, keffiyeh, niqab, sheila, thawb.

Abaya – female long and loose black cloak that covers the whole body. This garment is used in Arab countries and in other Muslim countries.

Agal (iqal, egal, igal) – accessory, part of a male headdress worn in Arab countries. It is a black cord, worn doubled. Agal is used to keep gutrah (keffiyeh, kuffiyah, kufiya, kofia) in place.

Burqa (burka) – 1) in the UAE, an intricate women’s mask that covers eyebrows, nose, and upper lip. Used only by married women. This piece is also called “battoulah”. It is used in Arab states of the Persian Gulf, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Iran. 2) In the Middle East and Afghanistan, a large cloak that hides the head and body and has a grille for the eyes to see through.

Gafaaz – female gloves used in UAE. Women wear them to make sure all of their skin is covered.

Gishwa – thin black veil used by women. It covers the face totally, but the material is fine enough to let a woman see through it.

Gutrah (guthra, ghutrah) – traditional Middle Eastern male headdress. It is a square headscarf, usually made from cotton. The color is usually white or checkered. There are different ways of draping the gutrah. But two of them are the most common. The headscarf can be held in place by an ornate headband called “agal” (a special black cord). Another technique of wearing the gutrah is to wrap the corners of the scarf around the head and tie to keep the whole thing in place. For the latter method, you don’t need aghals. The other names for this headgear are keffiyeh, kufiya, kuffiyah, kofia, shemagh, ḥaṭṭah, mashadah, chafiye, cemedanî, etc.

Hijab – popular Muslim female headdress that covers the hair, ears, the neck, and a small part of shoulders. The female face is left open.

Kandura (gandoora, gandurah) – Emirati name for the men’s ankle-length white robe typical for Arab countries. Usually, it has long sleeves. The other names for this garment are dishdasha, dish-dasha, dishdosh, khamis, jalabiyyah, thawb, thobe, tawb, thwab, taub.

Keffiyeh (kufiya, kuffiyah, kofia) – traditional Middle Eastern male headdress. It is a square headscarf, usually made from cotton. The color is usually white or checkered. There are different ways of draping the keffiyeh. But two of them are the most common. The headscarf can be held in place by an ornate headband called “agal” (a special black cord). Another technique of wearing the keffiyeh is to wrap the corners of the scarf around the head and tie to keep the whole thing in place. For the latter method, you don’t need aghals. The other names for this headgear are gutrah, guthra, ghutrah, shemagh, ḥaṭṭah, mashadah, chafiye, cemedanî, etc.

Niqab – Muslim headdress, black veil that covers the women’s head and face leaving only the eyes uncovered; there is a small opening for the eyes. Niqab is popular in Gulf countries, Yemen, and Pakistan.

Sheila (shayla, shela) – Muslim female headdress, long rectangular scarf that is loosely wrapped around the head and left on the shoulders. It is popular in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates).

Thawb (thobe, tawb, thwab, taub) – male ankle-length white robe used in Arab countries. Usually, has long sleeves. It is used in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and neighboring Arab countries. This garment can be also called dishdasha, dish-dasha, dishdosh, kandura, gandoora, gandurah, khamis, jalabiyyah, etc. according to the country of usage.

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Every culture has features and peculiarities, familiar only to the people of this nation. And it’s very interesting to learn about traditional clothing from natives. That’s why if you have something to say about your national costume, please, do it using comments. Tell us things which you know about your country’s cultural heritage. Other people will discover something new for them thanks to you.

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