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Clothes of People

Contributed by Turathuna Bethlehem University on 28.01.2007:

In the past people used to wear simple clothes that were all very similar in their general appearance. In the hot weather men wore a long white dress made of cotton. On the head they wore a piece of cloth hanging down to the back and fixed round the head by another thin piece of cloth. In winter they wore on the top of these clothes a long oriental cloak generally made of camel hair. Women wore a long black dress, a cloak and a white sheet.

Dress habits changed during the Turkish rule over Palestine. The “qumbaz” replaced the men’s white cloak. The jacket was worn over it and under the cloak. The headband ‘”iqal” was worn to fix the head sheet. Men wore the Turkish head-dress “tarbush” (“tarbush” is the “serbush” in Turkish, meaning head-dress). The heavy colored “kaffiyah” was introduced as a head-dress exclusively used by married men; while the beautifully embroidered black dress replaced the simple dress. In Bethlehem, the shatwah, decorated by gold coins and covered by a white sheet of cloth, called tarbi’ah was used. It was exclusively used by married women. Both the shatwah and kaffiyah have now passed out of use. Spinsters were not allowed to put on the shatwah, but they used what is called “al-waqat”, which is a small cap containing one line of gold and silver coins, covered by the tarbi’a.

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