A Palestinian scarf or kuffiyeh is a type of clothing used as headdress most commonly by men and is influenced by an Arabic leader, Yasser Arafat. It is square soft cotton that is usually in solid red, white, and black colors or can be a checked mix of any of the three colors mentioned.
Today, people use it as a part of their attire. New designs are being released by different manufacturers. They now make untraditionally colored scarves (or those with dull colors like purple and brown) and even add some elements like flowers, squares, and other objects. You have to know the proper way to wear it if you want to include it in your daily fashion schemes.
There are different ways on how to wear kuffiyeh. The first one is used as a fashion statement. During the 80's up to recent years, kuffiyeh is a popular trend in fashion that is commonly used by ladies.
Here are some instructions on how to wear your modern kuffiyeh.
- Tie your hair if it's long. Do this to avoid your hair strands in getting in the way.
- Make a triangle by folding the kuffiyeh diagonally.
- Hold the two edges of the triangle using both hands. Spread it wide and make sure that the third edge of the triangle is facing the floor.
- Put the scarf on your chest. Wrap the two other edges around your neck and at the back of your neck, put one edge over the other.
- Tie both edges.
- Flatten the surface so that the scarf will spread itself out in the whole chest. It doesn't mean that you have to flatten the whole surface. Just leave the wrinkles and layers hanging there for they add extra texture to the scarf.
Another way to wear the kuffiyeh is by its traditional use, as headdress. You have to hold the scarf diagonally to create a triangle. Wear the fold over your forehead. The fold is usually held by a rope on place or can be draped around the shoulders and back. The traditional kuffiyeh can also be worn as turban wrapped around on one's head.
Wearing the kuffiyeh also symbolizes Palestinian support of its solidarity. It is worn in different ways by the people from the West to show Palestinian support especially during wars and conflicts. One example is the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.
The colors of the traditional kuffiyeh convey different meanings. Black and white colored kuffiyeh is used to symbolize the great Palestinian heritage. The white kuffiyeh with some red parts on it is commonly used around Somalia and Palestine. Though most of the time, the red and white kuffiyeh is associated with people living in Jordan.
Be aware that in some places, when wearing a kuffiyeh, you have to make sure that you are not offending any one most especially when you are in the Middle East for they use these scarves for different purposes. Some can misinterpret your fashion statement. Perhaps, you can be marked as an insensitive and an ignorant member of a Palestinian liberation group. Wearing the scarf can automatically tell to other people that you are supporting a political statement even when you're not.