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How to Wrap a Keffiyeh

Updated July 20, 2017

The keffiyeh is the traditional Arab headscarf worn by men. These days it has spread and become popular around the world, both as a fashion statement and for practicality. The keffiyeh is traditionally made from cotton, or cotton and wool. It is basically just a big square, about five or six feet on each side. There are as many ways to wrap a keffiyeh as there are people wearing it, and every area of the Middle East has its own wrap style. Even U.S. troops wear them. Learn a basic wrap, then experiment to see what works for you.

Fold the keffiyeh in half diagonally so you get a big triangle, then drape it over the top of your head. The three points should be over each shoulder and down the back. Leave as much or as little hanging over your forehead as you desire. You can stop now and place an agal, or rope circlet, over your keffiyeh to hold it in place. Let it drape over your back, neck and shoulder. Or, fold it back up over the agal to drape down the back.

Hold the fabric over your ear for a full wrap and wrap that side in front of your face, then around your head and back again to tuck it into itself. Take the other side and do the same thing, but go down under your chin instead. Continue around and tuck it into itself the same way.

Take the other side and do the same thing, but go down under your chin instead. Continue around and tuck it into itself the same way. You now have a head wrap that is adjustable to protect your head and face from blowing sand and dust.

Tip

You can also wrap the keffiyeh around your head like a turban, or just around your neck as a scarf. Try wearing a wet cotton keffiyeh in the summer when it's hot. It will keep you cool as it dries. For winter, wear wool/cotton or all wool to keep your head and face warm.

Warning

With the current world political situation, be tactful and practical about where and when you wear your keffiyeh. Educate yourself about the symbolism of the keffiyeh, so you don't end up making a social statement you didn't intend.

Things You'll Need

  • Keffiyeh
  • Agal (optional)
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About the Author

Patricia Bryant Resnick started writing when she was 7. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Sonoma State University in 1975. She began writing professionally in 1996 and has been published in "Rolling Stone," "Georgia Family Magazine" and online. Resnick specializes in food and gardening articles; she is a regular reviewer of tea on the Web.