How to fold an arab headdress

An Arabic headdress, called a ghotra or keffiyeh, is worn to protect the head from the sun and from desert sand. The headdress can be worn draped over the back and shoulders or over the back for greater ease of movement. The keffiyeh is held in place with a wreath, or tagiyyah. The tagiyyah is usually black. The keffiyeh is traditionally white, red and white or black and white, but there are a number of colours and styles available.

Fold the ghotra in half so that it forms a triangle.

Place the ghotra on your head with the long, folded edge over your forehead and two of the corners hanging down on your shoulders, and the third corner hanging down your back. Secure the ghotra with the wreath; place the wreath on the top of your head and push down so that it fits snugly. The wreath will keep the ghotra in place and prevent it from slipping off the head. Wearing the ghotra in this manner is usually reserved for heads of state and other officials and is also used at weddings.

Drape one corner of the ghotra over a shoulder for a more modest look.

Drape both corners over the opposite shoulder when the weather is cold or to protect from dust and sand.

Leave the ghotra hanging down and shift both corners onto the back for ease of movement.

Take the corner on your right side and place it over the top of your head. Place enough of the fabric on your head so that the corner does not slide back off. Repeat with the left side. This leaves the ears and neck exposed for a more casual look or for a cooler option in warm weather.


Ghotra scarves can also be worn around the neck as a fashion statement. Colours, styles and folding methods differ from region to region.

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About the Author

Nicole Fotheringham has been a writer since 1997. She was born in South Africa and began as a reporter for the "Natal Mercury" and "Cape Argus" newspapers. Fotheringham has a master's degree in English literature from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.