The keffiyeh brings about a true cultural heritage that cannot be taken away. Worn in mostly arid regions, the keffiyeh was traditionally used to protect people from sunburn, dust and sand. Nowadays, those who wear it do so under the mantle of the Palestinian cause.
Here are 8 things you should know about the keffiyeh:
- The distinctive woven checkered pattern may have originated in ancient Mesopotamia, as a representation of fishing nets or ears of grain
This is still a matter of debate, though.
- Keffiyehs are made of a mix of cotton and wool, which facilitates quick drying
- Keffiyehs were traditionally worn by Palestinian farmers
- However, the clothing later became a symbol of Palestinian nationalism during the Arab revolt of the 1930s, worn by men despite their social rank
- The prominence of the clothing increased during the 1960s, as Palestinian politician Yasser Arafat adopted the scarf
- Although it is not universally accepted, it is believed that the colors of the stitching in a keffiyeh are associated with politics
The traditional black and white keffiyehs are believed to have been associated with Fatah, whereas the red and white were adopted by Palestinian marxists.
- Chinese manufacturers entered the market in the 2000s, driving Palestinians out of the business
For five decades, The Herbawi Textile Factory located in the West bank, has been the only Palestinian manufacturer of keffiyehs. Going from 16 fully functional machines in 1990 to only 2 machines in 2010.
- That's when the scarf became very popular among youths in Tokyo, who often wore them with camouflage clothing