Turban
Overview
 
In English, Turban refers to several types of headwear popularly worn in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 and Southwest Asia
Southwest Asia
Western Asia, West Asia, Southwest Asia or Southwestern Asia are terms that describe the westernmost portion of Asia. The terms are partly coterminous with the Middle East, which describes a geographical position in relation to Western Europe rather than its location within Asia...

. A commonly used synonym is Pagri
Pagri (turban)
Pagri or Pagadi is the term for a turban within India and Pakistan. It specifically refers to a headdress that is worn by men and needs to be manually tied. In several regional dialects it is often shortened to Pag .-The cloth:...

, the Indian word for turban.
Contemporary turbans come in many shapes, sizes, and colours.
  • Middle Eastern, Central Asian, South Asian, and Sikh
    Sikh
    A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

     turban wearers usually wind it anew for each wearing, using long strips of cloth. The cloth is usually five meters or less.
Encyclopedia
In English, Turban refers to several types of headwear popularly worn in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 and Southwest Asia
Southwest Asia
Western Asia, West Asia, Southwest Asia or Southwestern Asia are terms that describe the westernmost portion of Asia. The terms are partly coterminous with the Middle East, which describes a geographical position in relation to Western Europe rather than its location within Asia...

. A commonly used synonym is Pagri
Pagri (turban)
Pagri or Pagadi is the term for a turban within India and Pakistan. It specifically refers to a headdress that is worn by men and needs to be manually tied. In several regional dialects it is often shortened to Pag .-The cloth:...

, the Indian word for turban.

Styles

Contemporary turbans come in many shapes, sizes, and colours.
  • Middle Eastern, Central Asian, South Asian, and Sikh
    Sikh
    A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

     turban wearers usually wind it anew for each wearing, using long strips of cloth. The cloth is usually five meters or less. However, some elaborate South Asian turbans may be permanently formed and sewn to a foundation. Turbans can be very large or quite modest dependent upon region, culture, and religion.
  • Traditionally, "turban" has been the name of a type of headwear worn by women in Western countries. The wear of such turbans by women in Western societies is less common than it was earlier in the 20th century. They are usually sewn to a foundation, so that they can be donned or removed easily.
  • Women in many parts of Africa
    Africa
    Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

     and the West Indies often cover their heads with intricately tied scarves which may be called scarves, head wraps, or turbans.
  • Men of the Tuareg, Berber
    Berber people
    Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

    , Songhai, Wodaabe
    Wodaabe
    The Wodaabe or Bororo are a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group. They are traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel, with migrations stretching from southern Niger, through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, and the western region of the Central African Republic....

    , Fulani
    Fula people
    Fula people or Fulani or Fulbe are an ethnic group spread over many countries, predominantly in West Africa, but found also in Central Africa and Sudanese North Africa...

    , and Hausa
    Hausa people
    The Hausa are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. They are a Sahelian people chiefly located in northern Nigeria and southeastern Niger, but having significant numbers living in regions of Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Chad and Sudan...

     peoples of North
    North Africa
    North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

     and West Africa
    West Africa
    West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

     wear turbans, often veiling the face to block dust.
  • People of Kenya
    Kenya
    Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

     tie a distinct style, sometimes called "valeti style". The cloth they tie it with is sometimes starched and the finishing normally includes a sharp point. This style is most commonly tied in the UK and in Kenya.

Kurdish turbans

Kurdish people
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 wear a turban which they call a Jamadani. The Jamadani is worn in many different ways across Kurdistan depending on the style of the locality e.g. the Barzani Kurds
Barzani Kurds
The Barzani tribe is one of the most prominent Kurdish tribes in Kurdistan.The origin of the word Barzani is connected by scholars to the ancient Hurrian god Barzani. The sheikhs of Barzan are descendants of Imadia princes. Their grandfather, Massoud, moved to the village of Nafneka, near Barzan,...

 are a tribe which wear the turban in a colour (red and white) and style which is typical of their clan. Mostly Kurdish turban consists of a length of striped cloth known as kolāḡī wound around a conical hat; the tassels that border the kolāḡī are allowed to hang down over the face.

Afghan turbans

Turbans are part of the national dress in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. In this particularly pious country, they are used more widely than elsewhere in the Muslim world, and are worn in a wide range of styles and colors. The turbans worn by the Taliban are either black (for descendants of Muhammad) or white, and have particularly long tails, while most other Afghans prefer shades of gray, green and brown. In the country's southeast, turbans are wrapped loosely and largely, whereas in Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 turbans tend to be smaller and tighter. In traditional Afghan society, Turbans also serve practical purposes such as for wrapping oneself against the cold, to sit on, to tie up an animal or to carry water in the cap.

In 2011 during the war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, a number of suicide bombers used their turbans to hide bombs in – a phenomenon termed "turban-borne improvised explosive device
Improvised explosive device
An improvised explosive device , also known as a roadside bomb, is a homemade bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action...

" (TBIED) by American troops. In response to this, turbans are now systematically searched during security checks, a practice perceived as demeaning by many Afghans.

Indian turbans

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 the turban is referred to as a pagri, meaning the headdress that is worn by men and is manually tied. There are several styles, specific to the wearer's region or religion, and they vary in shape, size and colour. The pagri is a symbol of honour and respect everywhere it is worn; it is a common practice to honour important guests by offering them one to wear. Colours are often chosen to suit the occasion or circumstance: for example saffron
Saffron (color)
Saffron is a color that is a tone of golden yellow resembling the color of the tip of the saffron crocus thread, from which the spice saffron is derived.The first recorded use of saffron as a color name in English was in 1200...

, associated with valour, is worn during rallies; white, associated with peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

, is worn by elders; and pink, associated with spring
Spring (season)
Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. The specific definition of the exact timing of "spring" varies according to local climate, cultures and...

, is worn during that season or for marriage ceremonies.

During the British
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 period the Muslim elites of South Asia, especially in western Punjab, used to wear a long pagri which was also a symbol of nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, honour and respect. In the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 majority regions of Punjab and Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 members of the land aristocracy always wore elaborate turbans known as the pagri. It was a part of the full formal dress that included the sherwani
Sherwani
Sherwani is a long coat-like garment worn in South Asia, very similar to an Achkan or doublet, and is traditionally associated with the Muslim aristocracy of the northern Indian subcontinent....

.

Turbans in Islam

The men of many Islamic cultures wear or wore a turban-style headdress, often in emulation of the Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

, who is believed to have worn a black or white turban. In Islam, the turban is a Sunnah Mu'akkadah (Confirmed Tradition) . Head wraps that men wear are called several names and worn in different ways depending on the sect of Muslims, region and culture. Examples include in Arabic, in Persian.

In Shi'a Islam
Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī , meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is...

, a black head wrap around a small white prayer cap is worn by descendants of Muhammad, and black turbans by well-educated persons and scholars. Black or white turbans are worn by the Taliban symbolizing they are descendants of Muhammad. Green turbans are a distinctive feature of a Hajji
Hajji
Hajji or El-Hajj, is an honorific title given to a Muslim person who has successfully completed the Hajj to Mecca, and is often used to refer to an elder, since it can take time to accumulate the wealth to fund the travel. The title is placed before a person's name...

. In Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, large white headdresses connote high social status. Other sects of Muslims would wear a green head wrap around a small white cap or just the white prayer cap alone.

In most countries of the Arabian peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, the preferred form of turban is a plain or checkered scarf (called keffiyeh
Keffiyeh
The keffiyeh/kufiya , also known as a ghutrah , ' , mashadah , shemagh or in Persian chafiye , Kurdish cemedanî and Turkish puşi, is a traditional Arab headdress fashioned from a square, usually cotton, scarf. It is typically worn by Arab men, as well as some Kurds...

, ghutrah or shumagh), though the Arabic Amamah tradition remains strong in Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

 (see Sultan Qaboos of Oman
Qaboos of Oman
Qaboos bin Said Al Said is the Sultan of Oman and its Dependencies. He rose to power after overthrowing his father, Said bin Taimur, in a palace coup in 1970. He is the 14th-generation descendant of the founder of the Al Bu Sa'idi dynasty.-Early life:...

), Egypt, Sudan and some parts of the Arabian peninsula.

In Pakistan the prayer cap is called a topi, see Topi cap and the traditional men's attire is called a salwar kameez. Women of Islam are not allowed to wear turbans, women's clothing is called a Burqa
Burqa
A burqa is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic religion to cover their bodies in public places. The burqa is usually understood to be the woman's loose body-covering , plus the head-covering , plus the face-veil .-Etymology:A speculative and unattested etymology...

 which is to cover their face and bodies in public places.

Sikh turbans

The Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

 turban, known as the Dastar or a Dumalla
Dumalla
The Dumalla or full name Chand Tora Dumalla is the style of turban generally worn by Nihang Khalsa Sikhs. This is a warrior style turban which was worn by Sikhs in battle....

, is mandatory for all Khalsa Sikhs to wear. (In the West, many Sikhs who wear pagri, olden Arab style turban, are sometimes mistaken for Muslims or Arabs.). The Rajastani turban is also commonly called the pagari. The Sikhs have a long history of being warriors and referred to as saint-soldiers, since their rise in the 1600-1700's. Their turban style and attire gives the identity of a warrior religion.
All Sikh Gurus since Guru Nanak Dev Ji have worn turbans. However, covering one's hair with a turban was made an official policy by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. The main reasons to wear turban are to take care of the hair, promote equality, and preserve the Sikh identity.
As a symbol of respect for God, Sikhs do not cut their hair. The turban protects the hair and keeps it clean. People from many other religions including Hindus, Jews, and traditionally many Christians including Catholics only cover their head during worship (Source: Christian Head Covering). Because Sikhs believe God to be present everywhere, they wear their turban at all times.

As Sikhs only form 2% of India’s population, their warrior style turbans also help identify them. When he institutionalized the turban as a part of the Sikh identity, Guru Gobind Singh Ji said, “My Sikh will be recognized among millions.”

The Dumalla
Dumalla
The Dumalla or full name Chand Tora Dumalla is the style of turban generally worn by Nihang Khalsa Sikhs. This is a warrior style turban which was worn by Sikhs in battle....

 or full name Chand Tora Dumalla is the style of turban generally worn by Sikhs in battle. The "Chand Tora" is a metal symbol consisting of a crescent sword and a double edged sword, it is held in place at the front of the turban by a woven chainmail cord tied in a pattern within the turban to protect the head from slashing weapons.
The Chand actually is a symbol of Shiva who is always shown with a crescent in his hair. Shiva is considered a very powerful mythological figure. So the crescent (Chand) being in the Singh's Dumalla along with a Khanda and Kirpan shows that Singh's are as mighty, if not more, than Shiva.
The purpose of the Tora is to keep the dastaar together. It goes over the bunga to protect it and protect the dasam dwar. Also used for keeping shastars together. In the past every Sikh wore this type of turban, known as a Dumalla, even still to this day many Sikhs in the Punjab still wear the Chand Tora Dumalla, known as the Nihangs.

In addition, turbans were formerly associated with the upper class, and many cultural elites still wear turbans. This distinction between the turban-wearing upper class (Sardars) and commoners promoted segregation and elitism. In order to eliminate the class system associated with turbans, Guru Gobind Singh Ji declared each and every Sikh a Sardar. He also rejected the class system by giving all Sikhs the last names Singh and Kaur.

Sikhs do not usually wear red or green, which are Muslim and Hindu orientated colors. The most common colors worn by Sikhs are blue, orange, white and black. Sikhs also decorate their turbans or Dumalla
Dumalla
The Dumalla or full name Chand Tora Dumalla is the style of turban generally worn by Nihang Khalsa Sikhs. This is a warrior style turban which was worn by Sikhs in battle....

 in a warrior way by wearing small weapons known as Shastars in their turbans.

Rastafari turbans

Members of the Bobo Shanti mansion
Mansions of Rastafari
Mansions of Rastafari are branches of the Rastafari movement. Mansions include the Bobo Shanti, the Niyabinghi, the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and others. The term is taken from the Biblical verse in John 14:2, "In my Father's house are many mansions."-Bobo Shanti:Prince Emanuel Charles Edwards...

 of the Rastafari movement
Rastafari movement
The Rastafari movement or Rasta is a new religious movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, which at the time was a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black descendants of slaves. Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia , as God...

 keep their hair and beards, mainly keeping their hair in dreadlocks
Dreadlocks
Dreadlocks, also called locks, a ras, dreads, "rasta" or Jata , are matted coils of hair. Dreadlocks are usually intentionally formed; because of the variety of different hair textures, various methods are used to encourage the formation of locks such as backcombing...

, they have been wearing turbans over their dreadlocks
Dreadlocks
Dreadlocks, also called locks, a ras, dreads, "rasta" or Jata , are matted coils of hair. Dreadlocks are usually intentionally formed; because of the variety of different hair textures, various methods are used to encourage the formation of locks such as backcombing...

 protecting and keeping their dreadlocks
Dreadlocks
Dreadlocks, also called locks, a ras, dreads, "rasta" or Jata , are matted coils of hair. Dreadlocks are usually intentionally formed; because of the variety of different hair textures, various methods are used to encourage the formation of locks such as backcombing...

 clean, along with wearing robes since their founding in the 1950s
1950s
The 1950s or The Fifties was the decade that began on January 1, 1950 and ended on December 31, 1959. The decade was the sixth decade of the 20th century...

, being a small population it makes them more distinctive in appearance in Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 and elsewhere.

Turbans in Western countries

Turbans have been worn by men and women since the 17th century, without ever becoming very common. Poet Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson...

 is sometimes depicted wearing a turban.

Now that hats are infrequently worn, turbans too are relatively uncommon. They are worn primarily by women of West Indian descent, Karinas. Some women wear them to make a statement of individuality, such as the British social entrepreneur Camila Batmanghelidjh
Camila Batmanghelidjh
Camila Batmanghelidjh is a British businesswoman, charity leader and author of Iranian and Belgian origin. She has been living in England since the age of 11 and founded two charities - the place2b and Kids Company where she and her team care for 14,000 vulnerable children and young people in London...

, who usually wears a colourful matching turban and robe.

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians usually wear short white turbans made of thin cotton, as do the Ethiopian Muslims. Although the turban is mentioned in several translations of the Bible, such as in , Christians in general do not see wearing turbans as part of their religious practice.

External links

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