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Cultures Around the World: Nepal, Syria, Portugal, and America

Syrian Clothing
Clothing in Syria is very diverse. There is an endless variety of kuffiyahs, turbans, and head wraps characteristic to Muslims.

Despite the harsh climate, bare legs, shoulders, or upper arms are rarely seen. Short hair on women and long hair on men is equally uncommon.

The Qur'an says that clothing should be modest, men should not wear silk or gold, clothes should not attract attention, only the hands and face should be uncovered, material must be thick and hang loose, women's clothes cannot be worn by a man, and vice versa, women cannot wear wigs or tattoos, Muslims should not wear non-Islamic clothes, men's robes should extend half-way below the shin; over the ankle, but not dragging on the ground, and clothing should be plain in a mosque.

These strict rules have been interpreted as:

Arab women wear a black garment called an Abayah that covers them from shoulders to feet. They also wear a head and face cover that leaves only the eyes peeking out. Underneath this disguise, she may be wearing a traditional Arabian dress with intricate beading, or the latest fashion from America, but no one except her will ever know.

Arab men wear a loose, one piece robe called a Didashah. In the summer, it is white, while in the winter, heavier fabric and darker colors are used. They also wear a three-piece head cover. The bottom piece is a white cap often filled with holes used to hold hair in place called a Thagiyah. On top is a scarf like head cover. In the summer it is white and called a Gutrah. In the winter, it is checkered, usually red and white called a Shumaq. This piece is used to protect the head from the sun, and to cover the mouth and nose in a sand storm. On top of the Thagiyah and Shamaq/Gutrah is the Ogal. The Ogal is a black band just there to hold everything else in place.