Since the dawn of time, people have used clothes and accessories not only to cover their body, but also to show off their religious affiliation, social status, the family where they came from, and many other aspects of their life. Scarves are no exception and while for some cultures they represent a way of dressing up and making one’s outfit more interesting, for others these garments are used for religious and cultural purposes. Today, let’s take a look at three of these garments and the role they play for the nation whence they came.
Spain- the Mantilla veil
The mantilla is a head covering scarf with religious connotations that has been worn by Catholic Spanish women since the end of the 16th century during prayer and worship. Because the Christian Bible requires women to cover their heads during religious ceremonies and in church, both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox women came up with a variety of specific head coverings for these occasions. Mantilla is a very lightweight veil, usually made of lace or silk, the traditional colors being black, which was worn when a woman stands in front of the Pope, and white, which is worn during the church wedding, as well as the audiences with the Pope, if the woman is the queen of Spain or one of the selected Catholic wives that has the so called privilège du blanc. Apart from these purposes, mantillas are also worn during the Holy Week, as well as the traditional Spanish bullfights. To fix them on their head, women use a special comb, called the peineta, which holds up the veil and makes the woman look taller.
Ireland- the Celtic scarves
Celts have been known for being excellent manufacturers from the beginning of time, and all of their clothes, including scarves, were bright and colorful. Both men and women used to wear scarves and they were decorated with distinctive Celtic elements such as the cross, knots, and shamrocks. Later on, their descendants, the Irish, not only continued the tradition of wearing these garments, but also turned them into practical accessories. For example, during the migration to the USA in the 19th century, women used the famous Galway shawls to carry their belongings, as well as to keep themselves and their children warm during their long and difficult journey. Celtic-inspired scarves are still widely used today as a fashionable item as well as a way of displaying one’s culture and paying respect to their ancestors. If you’re looking for these garments, at places as Gaelsong you can find the perfect traditional Celtic scarves.
Middle East- the hijab
Scarves are more than just a fashion accessory for Muslims; they also serve as head coverings, the most well-known of which is the hijab. Curiously, in Islam, hijab refers not just to the scarf itself but also to the concept of modesty. It is widely worn in the Middle East, but also in North Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania, as well as other parts of the world where there is a significant Muslim population, yet it is only required by law in two countries: Iran and Afghanistan. Although only black hijabs are considered proper in many places, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, modern hijabi women use these garments not only to cover themselves, but also to make their looks more contemporary and creative. Some fashion icons, such as Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan and Swedish-born Iman Aldebe, have even launched their own hijab collections, proving not only different creative ways to wear these scarves, but also helping in the transition of modern Muslim women into stylish and beautiful individuals.