Hijazi Headgear

This handsome young man is wearing the traditional headgear typical of the Hijazi area of Saudi Arabia. This orange checkered cloth is called Imma or Immama and is usually worn by Hijazi men during celebrations and is folded and wrapped turban style around the head. People who live in the western region of the country, including Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah, Taif and other cities, are called Hijazis. Different parts of the country also have their own dialects, so it is easy to determine what area a Saudi hails from.

About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
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15 Responses to Hijazi Headgear

  1. Sophie says:

    This is the traditional everyday style worn by Hijazis; there are several variations of this imamah; including a very bright orange design far less subtle than the above example. Many of the street hawkers in Jeddah particularly those selling seafood and nuts wear the traditional hijazi dress as an everyday thing. For those working by the sea and doing other manual jobs Indonesian style sarongs were traditionally worn; in the hijazi dialect they are called futa. In many older neighbourhoods in cities in hijaz you will see most of the men wearing a futa; shirt and hat and those wearing crisp white thobes and the red and white checked imamah tend to look very out of place. The traditional hijazi dress also includes embroidered thawbs, cream being more common than white, often with a pointed collar but designs similar to Moroccan designs without the hood are traditional as well; and a white or black western style waistcoat (I believe Americans call it a ‘vest’); for festivals a sheer black overcoat with either silver or gold brocade trim is worn. It differs from the bisht or mishlah as it is a structured coat with a collar and sleeves, and buttons up as well. There is heavy Indonesian, Indian and North African influence in the hijazi dress, the very orange imamah is from Morocco, the more golden variety from Algeria. The waistcoat I believe may have been influenced by Raj period Indian dress, the sarong, shirt and hat look is clearly Indonesian, and the thobes show clear Moroccan influence. My husband is a native of Jeddah and I am a keen dressmaker and costume enthusiast so the traditional costume of Saudi is one of my interests.

  2. Yoli says:

    He is so handsome that he is beautiful. Love the picture.

  3. m_m says:

    Great capture! Thanks for the information about these differences between the people living in different parts of the country! Interesting!

  4. Amanda Beals says:

    You may already have addressed this somewhere in your blog but are you ever placed in a compramising position as a woman taking intimate photos?


    • People have tried to stop me from taking photos twice. When I am outside in public, I feel that people are dressed properly the way they want to present themselves, so if I see something that I think looks interesting, and I can’t really ask for permission, I try to be discreet. I had read somewhere that taking photos in public here is perfectly legal and allowed, whereas at private functions, like a wedding where women are not covered and are showing some skin and their hair, it is taboo.

  5. Aafke says:

    Waw! It looks very well!
    Marahm, you are supposed to be invisible, non-existant, while men are allowed to be attractive.

  6. Geogypsy says:

    He is a handsome young man. I kind of like the head wear. But am certain it is worn to enhance looks, unlike you hijab.

    Great capture.

  7. Marahm says:

    LOL, yes, of course, our hijab is supposed to DEtract from our attractiveness, not enhance it. As for the man’s headdress, it is always enhancing. Men are the peacocks in Arab society; their headgear is their feather crown, no?

  8. Hi JM – Thanks!

    Hi Marahm – I was under the impression that the reason women wear the hijab is to MAKE us look unattractive!

    Hi Jacob – I would have to agree with you about the King’s efforts. I think he has good intentions but he’s up against extreme conservatives who do not want change. It’s sad.

  9. Jacob says:

    Well, Susie, you do take interesting photos. But you live in what seems a complicated country…so much to learn – you know, like how to warp your headgear, and how to tell where people come from…

    Just sorta kidding.

    Certainly is an interesting place. I finished reading that article I told you about today and I’m not sure the King’s going to be able to pull off any meaningful change…

  10. Marahm says:

    You’re right– he is handsome! I always liked the male headgear, whatever the style; it makes men look attractive. Why doesn’t our hijab do the same for us?

  11. JM says:

    This is a great portrait! Very interesting information too.

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