A Guide to the Emirati Traditional Attire the Ghutra

One thing that I have always admired about the Arabians is their unique sense of dressing, one of such uniqueness is found with the Emirati’s Ghutra.

The Ghutra is believed to mean more compared to the “just a fashion” people have painted it to be. Sit glued to your screen, let’s explore more on the Ghutra.

What is Ghutra?

The Ghutra, also known as Kufiyah, is a rectangular cotton headdress that holds immense cultural significance in Arab communities, particularly in the United Arab Emirates.

The Ghutra is often worn by men as a part of their traditional attire. It’s usually held in place by a cord called Agal, which prevents it from blowing in the wind.

Purpose and Function of Ghutra

The Ghutra serves both practical and cultural purposes. It protects the wearer from the harsh desert environment, including the scorching sun, sandstorms, and sudden temperature changes.

The light color of the Ghutra reflects the sun’s heat, keeping the wearer cooler, and the fabric provides coverage to the neck and face, preventing sunburn.

Keffiyeh vs. Ghutra: A Comparison

The Emirati Keffiyeh is often used interchangeably with Ghutra, but there are distinctions between the two.

The Keffiyeh, originating from Arab Bedouin tradition, has different historical connotations.

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The Ghutra Dubai, a pure white textile, has become synonymous with Emirati culture and pride.

Ghutra’s Cultural Relevance

The Ghutra holds deep cultural significance, symbolizing the connection between people and their heritage. It signifies cultural innovation, especially the red and white-controlled Headdress, which has become a hallmark of Emirati men’s dress.

Ghutra as a Symbol of National Identity

The Ghutra is not merely an article of clothing; it’s a symbol of national identity. In the UAE, the Ghutra is worn with pride, representing a strong connection to one’s country, customs, and traditions.

The Role of Ghutra in UAE Culture

The Ghutra is a central element of Emirati culture, often worn alongside the thobe, a long white shirt. 

Together, they form the national dress of the UAE.

Wearing the thobe and Ghutra is a matter of honor and respect, and even the slightest stain on the thobe is considered a breach of etiquette.

The Importance of Wearing Colored Ghutra

While the traditional Ghutra is white, there are variations in colors, including red and patterned designs. 

These colors have become a fashion statement, allowing individuals to express their style and match them with other elements of their attire.

Geographical and Seasonal Differences in Ghutra Colors

The choice of Ghutra color can sometimes vary by geographical location and season.

Red Ghutras are more prevalent in certain regions, while white ones are typically worn in warmer weather. 

The Ghutra’s color can also be coordinated with the dishdasha, a traditional robe worn by men.

Formal vs. Informal Occasions for Wearing Agal

The Agal, the cord that holds the Ghutra in place, plays a role in determining the formality of an outfit.

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It’s commonly worn at formal events and workplaces, signifying respect and professionalism. On informal occasions, individuals might choose not to wear the Agal.

Wearing the Ghutra

It might take some practice to get it right, but the steps include placing the folded half on the head, crossing the ends behind the shoulders, and wrapping the ends around the head.

The Ghutra is often worn with an Egal, which keeps it securely on the head.



Remember the Agal, the cord that secures the Ghutra, is typically worn on formal occasions and in workplaces. It signifies professionalism and respect.

The Ghutra can be worn casually without the Agal, especially in informal settings. This allows for a more relaxed and comfortable appearance.

It might take some practice to get it right, but the steps include placing the folded half on the head, crossing the ends behind the shoulders, and wrapping the ends around the head.

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Wearing the Ghutra involves folding it, positioning it on the head, and securing it with the Agal. By all means, get into the fun.

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