Different Kinds of Turbans

Written by alicia prince
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Different Kinds of Turbans
Turban styles vary widely depending on location, purpose and social standing of the wearer. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Types of turbans, including the wrap style and acceptable colours, differ greatly by region and purpose. Some turbans are more embellished for special occasions, while others are plain to signify times of mourning. Turbans can also vary in appearance depending on the degree, race and social cast of the wearer. Many styles of turban are unique to small geographic areas.

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Members of the Mohammeden faith wear a turban style of headwear over a felt skullcap known as the tarboosh. In Egypt, the tarboosh is worn with a scarf wrapped around the skullcap, while some Indian races drape a scarf around the skullcap. On the other hand, Hindu believers wear turbans over a shaved head, while some Afghanistan turbans are worn with the scarf swathed around a more cone-shaped cap.


Turban styles can also correspond to the life events of the wearer. For example, during times of mourning, only turbans of plain, muted colours are appropriate, much like the Western tradition of wearing all black to a funeral. Wedding turbans tend to be embellished with jewels and shiny fabrics, although different wrap styles and colours are popular in different regions.

Pagri Rasam

In some situations, turbans are used as ceremonial pieces. In North India and Pakistan, many religions conduct the Pagri Rasam ceremony after the death of the oldest male member of the family. In Pagri Rasam, the male who has become the eldest ties a turban onto his head in the presence of extended family members. This ceremony symbolises the transferring of authority from the deceased family member to the current head of the family.

Other Significances

Colour can play a major in the meaning of a turban and therefore what it is used for. Although specific colour meaning varies by region, colour can also denote the social cast of the wearer. Turbans are also exchanged to symbolise events. For example, a man carrying a turban in his hand, then presenting it to a woman signifies the death of the woman's husband.

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