[WORLDKINGS] Traditional clothing from around the world – P26 - Gallibaya: The typical cultural imprint of the Egyptians


(WorldKings.org) When people hear a phrase “Egyptian traditional clothing”, they think about the attire of the Ancient Egypt. But actually, the folk dress used in modern Egypt differs much from the wrap-around garments that barely covered the bodies of ancient Egyptians. Since the 1500s, citizens of Egypt tend to cover their body parts thoroughly. Locals inherited a lot of features from the clothing fashion of Ottoman Turks, Europeans, and Muslim countries.

The folk outfit of Egyptian men includes a long shirt called “gallibaya” (or jalabiya) optional trousers, one or several outer garments, a headdress, and shoes. The main male garment used in various regions of Egypt is a long loose shirt called “gallibaya” or “galabiya”. It has long narrow sleeves and a triangular neckline. Locals also wear a variation of gallibaya called “kamis” or “gamis” – a wide garment with very wide sleeves. The kamis is a piece used by fellahin – Egyptian farmers.



The traditional Egyptian trousers are called “sserual”. They are worn under the gallibaya sometimes, but they are optional. The most widespread outerwear in Egypt is a garment called “kaftan” and worn over the gallibaya. It is a long coat-like piece with long wide sleeves. Kaftan is open in front and belted with a sash called “hizan”. Kaftan is often made from a striped cloth (half-silk, cotton, satin, brocade, etc.).

Traditionally, Egyptian men covered their heads with various headdresses. The pieces served as a protection from the hot sun, from sand, and other severe weather conditions. There are 3 main headdresses used in this country: a skullcap, a tarboosh, and a turban. The skullcap (called “taqiyah”, “'araqiyeh”, etc.) is a small round cotton headdress often worn under the turban or tarboosh. It is a very common and comfy headgear. The tarboosh is a fez – red cylindrical brimless cap. The turban is a long piece of fabric wounded around the head.



Egyptian women, as well as men, prefer multi-layered light and loose clothing. It is connected with the religion (many locals are Muslims) and the climate of the country. Women tend to cover their bodies thoroughly, often including the head. The female traditional outfit in Egypt consists of a long robe called “gallebaya”, baggy trousers used as an underwear, several layers of outerwear, a headdress, and shoes.

The gallebaya is an ankle-length robe with long sleeves. In the rural areas, women often use gallebaya as the main garment. Poor females also do that. But in the cities, women wear gallebaya only as indoor clothes or as an undergarment. They use different outerwear pieces on top of the gallebaya.



Another light and loose garment is worn by Egyptian females for the outdoor activities. It is called “tob sebleh”. It is a very wide full-length dress made from cotton fabric. Women in Egypt wear trousers underneath their robes. These are thin cotton baggy pants tied below the knee and falling to the ankle. The trousers are called “tshalvar” or “shintijan”.



Female outerwear includes several garments. There is a piece similar to the male kaftan – women’s variant of the garment is called “yelek”. It is more tight-fitting and has longer sleeves. Also, yelek has an open neck and is buttoned down from the bosom to the waist. The hem of the garment is slit on both sides. Yelek is always worn over the gallebaya and baggy trousers.



Over the yelek, Egyptian women traditionally use an overcoat djubbeh or binnish. Both garments are wide overcoats with wide sleeves. They are similar to the male pieces but more delicate, with a more feminine design.

According to nationalclothing.org

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