Shemagh, Keffiyeh, Desert Scarves
The shemagh is called by many names. Some call it keffiyah, ghutrah or mashadah as well. It is also called a kufiyah, meaning “from Kufa”, giving a hint to where this garment originated. The shemagh was primarily used by desert travelers and bedouins who used it to cover their mouth and head while traveling in the unforgiving deserts of the Middle East. This garment served a practical purpose while also defining a sense of style for the whole region. The shemagh scarf is still used today by many for various reasons. They are still worn by many Arabs every day regardless of their religion. They are also worn as a status symbol or for style. There is no rule on when or where to wear the scarf; you would be surprised by the number of ways one can wear a simple square garment.