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History & Heritage


What are these traditional outfits that were seen at the Saudi National Day?

When we think of the clothing habits of the Gulf countries, we naturally think of the thobe or kandoora, those white dresses worn every day in the region, the shemag, that white or white and red scarf worn on the head and held by an agal. However, as everywhere, on festive evenings, the inhabitants of the Gulf know how to put on their best clothes…

Recently, we were invited to the ceremony of the Saudi National Day in Paris. In addition to attending the celebrations, it was an opportunity for us to meet Gulf residents, some in traditional dress, others in military dress, and some, like Mansour Al Shuhail, in gala dress.

He was dressed in official clothing from the Arabian Peninsula and more precisely from the Nejd, the central region where the capital is located. It is also worn in the Qassim region in the north. It is a traditional wardress but it is also worn during the holidays. Somewhat like a military uniform, it is equipped with a sword, a detail that is of particular importance in the region, according to Mansour Al Shuhail: “The sword is an Arabic moose symbol. In the Arabian Peninsula, men are proud to wear their swords. It is even a tradition in the Arab world. It is one of the main pieces of Saudi traditional dress, particularly in the Nejd. The belt and the dagger too. They are typical of the Arab region and are worn with pride.

Each region has its own outfit

In the entrance to the ceremonial hall of the Four Seasons George V, the eyes were inexorably drawn to the four traditional outfits displayed, two for men and two for women.

The right garment looks like the official outfit of the Nejd. It is also typical of the region. The one on the left is worn by women from the southern region as well as part of the Hijaz. It’s a traditional dress.

The right-wing garment is a traditional garment worn throughout Saudi Arabia. Bisht (black coat) and thobe (white dress) are worn for weddings and holidays. The one on the left is traditionally worn by women from Nejd, but also by women from the northern region.

Someone said fashion victim…?

See also

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Published on 16 October 2019