Snapchat and Instagram in Saudi Arabia are in a flurry today over photos of Juventus footballers Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala wearing the ghutra while in Jeddah, with most people praising the way the Bosnian and Argentine players wore the headdress.
Juventus will play AC Milan in the Supercoppa Italiana final tonight. Pjanic shared this snap of the pair wearing an element of Saudi national dress:
Dybala clearly enjoyed wearing the ghutra, giving a victory sign in this video, which has since been widely shared:
This will be the seventh year in a row that Juventus are playing in the Supercoppa Italiana final. Cristiano Ronaldo plays for Juventus, and is in Saudi Arabia for the match, but no photos of him wearing a ghutra have surfaced yet – though would surely break the internet if they did.
AC Milan also got in on the ghutra action, with the tweet below from the club's official account thanking Jeddah and its people for the hospitality they have experienced:
What is the ghutra?
The headdress, worn across the Arab world and sometimes called the kaffiyeh or shemagh (among other names), was borne out of necessity and practicality. The desert can be intensely hot, and so covering the head is important, as is wearing something that can shield the face from a sandstorm.
The term ghutra generally refers to the headdress style worn by men in the Gulf. Generally, men wear a ghutra made from a light cotton, often in white or a white-and-red check. The headdress is usually secured on the head by an igal, a black, rope-like circle that sits on top of the crown of the head.
As Ali Al Saloom pointed out in an article for The National in 2016, the colour choice and style of a ghutra now truly crosses borders:
"Today, the colour of the shemagh [or ghutra] is just one part of a man’s daily outfit selection. I would not tell you that a man is from Saudi Arabia if he is wearing a red shemagh. I would rather say to look at his kandura – if it is with a collar and made of a thin material, then I would say that, yes, he is a Saudi."
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