Palestinian Keffiyeh

    The Palestinian keffiyehs are generally a mix of cotton and wool designed to dry fast yet keep the head warm when needed. It is generally folded in half into a triangle with the fold worn across the forehead. Some wearers wrap it into a turban while others drape it loosely around the neck and shoulders. It is often held in place by an agal, a ring of rope worn around the head. The word itself means “from Kufa,” an Iraqi city that became a popular manufacturing center of the garment, much as damask fabric came from Damascus.

        In Jordan, it’s often called a shemagh mhadab, and it’s often red-and-white checked.The origin of the common checkered pattern itself is a mystery. Some say it may have grown out of an ancient Mesopotamian representation of either fishing nets or ears of grain, but nobody is certain.

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