Traditional Yemeni costumes, diverse, eye-catching and beautifulBeauty in Yemeni eyes (part 2-2) [Archives:2003/633/Culture]

April 27 2003
Girls appear in deeply-rooted traditional costumes
Girls appear in deeply-rooted traditional costumes
Yemen Times Taiz Bureau
Continuing our Yemeni costumes tour, light will be shed in this episode on the beautiful dress codes and traditional costumes of a few more regions in Yemen. We shall present costumes of Hajja, Al-Mahara, Taiz, and Jabal Sabir.
It's quite amusing how costumes vary drastically between men and women and still there could be certain similarities that are invariably there.

Hajja costumes
In Hajja, men wear a colorful wrap called “Miewaz” secured around the waist with a fold. This dress is shared among men in Al-Dhalie, Shabwa, Al-Baidha, Lahj and Hadramot. Along with the Miewaz, men wear the Janbiya, and a head gear made form a square checked cloth generally red or black in color and folded in the shape of a triangle. This could also be placed on the shoulders instead of the head and is common all around the country. Men here also wear some other types called “Al-Dhulla” which is a small cap made from palm trees and is popular in coastal areas. Of course men wear a shirt on top of it.
Women in Hajja and in other coastal areas wear what is called “Wazar” and “Saderia” Those constitute of a two-piece dress and “Al-Dir'e” which is a one-piece light dress that could be decorated with embroidery. As jewelry, women wear what is called “Al-Duqqa” which is a necklace made of silver rings around the neck. Women in Hajja also wear bracelets and bangles and earrings. In similar regions women decorate their heads with an embroidered piece of cloth called “Al-Qsheeta” and their hair with a decorative piece called “Al-Hanishiya”.

Yemeni women never left a part of their body with no decoration

Al-Mahara costumes
In Al-Mahara, women mostly wear “Abu Thail”. This is a velvet long cloth with an elegant tail giving women a hint of royalty as they walk. To crown this dress, they wear what is called “Al-Sent” or “Al-Qurqoosh” which is a head gear with an opening in its front side. Of course, the bride has special clothes to enhance her beauty; with heavily embroidered clothes, sliver and gold jewelry. A bride putts on jewelry to decorate her head, neck, ears, nose, hair, chest, arms, fingers and even ankles. Yet the amount and value of these items vary according to the social status and richness of the family. Men are less fortunate this way although they still wear beautiful colored clothes and embroidered shawls, and of course, Al-Janbiya and most of the time, a gun as well on his shoulder as a sign of man bravery and manliness.

Taiz costumes
Being the former capital of Yemen and one of the most heavily populated cities, Taiz has acquired a mixed culture in everything including costumes. However, the original dress code in Taiz for men is a long sleeved one piece dress called “Qamees”, which is also popular in most of the other regions as well as a “Yalaq” which is similar to the inner piece of men's formal suit. Men also put a cap like head gear or a turban along with a shawl on the shoulder and a Janbiya around the waist. Taiz women wear a two-piece dress composed of a medium length dress with trousers made of similar colors if not the same material and color decorated at the bottom of each leg. As an overcoat, women wear what is called “Sharshaf” which is a two-piece black cloth composed of a skirt and a closed shawl-like with buttons in front.

Jabal Sabir and Misrakh
Men in Jabal Sabir and Misrakh usually wear similar clothes to those men living in Taiz City but what is most interesting in this region is women's dresses. Dresses of women in those areas are characterized with bright and joyful colors.
Women's dresses in those two towns must be handmade and are only made in those areas. The most prominent piece of women dresses here are usually wore on the chest. This piece, which extends to the knees are characterized with heavy embroidery and designs in fabulous artistic styles. The dress also has a pocket in the middle and has very long sleeves which are not actually used as sleeves because hands emerge from an opening near the sleeve root, and the sleeves are instead tied to the back to make a somewhat additional pocket. Women also wear “Sirwal” which are trousers decorated at the bottom and are generally of bright colors.
Of course there is also a head gear for the Sabiri women and that is a square piece of cloth made of chiffon or organza and folded in a triangular shape and tied on the head in a way that leaves a part of its end from one side longer so as to cover the mouth in a veil like manner. As always, the bride takes the biggest share of decoration. In Jabal Sabir, brides have all their dresses decorated with jewelry and wear an item called “Al-Laba”, which is basically a necklace that weighs around 800gm and made of pure silver. The bride also wears at least one neck bracelet with silver rings attached to it. As if that is not enough, the bride also wears what is called “Kahrab” which is a jewel made of gems put on her head and which is embedded with silver. Moreover, the head is also covered with a silver crown that has danglers on the sides ending with silver coins, which must be worn with long heavy earrings called “Mashaqir0” that very much fit the style and design of the crown. She also wears silver bangles and a silver belt that could range from one to three kilograms in weight. Of course ankles must also be decorated with bangles that make a sound as she walks. Traditionally, brides also put henna on their feet and hands in beautiful designs and drawings.
You can imagine how a Sabiri bride would look like just before she is meets her groom on wedding day. She would resemble the beautiful picture of a gorgeous bride dressed with jewelry from head to toe.