Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eid Shopping

They're everywhere. You are dazzled by the richness they add to a picnic in the mountains. Your eyes dance with them as they blow in the wind. Sometimes they hide behind layers of black, their tail sweeping the ground. You can see them in abundance as they hang in perfect rectangles waiting to be adorned. Yes of course, the Dhofari Thobe, or Abu Dhail (Father of the Tail). The Dhofari thobe is an all-encompassing garment with beautiful prints and colors, and a back that is longer than the front. The unique back trails behind the women as they walk, displaying a dramatic silhouette.

However, the marvel behind the thobe, lies in its beginning. According to tradition, an Arabian King used to sprinkle a magic powder on the ground and young women who walked over the powder would fall madly in love with him. To escape his conniving scheme, Dhofari women donned a long flowing dress that swept the powder away to avoid falling prey.

Legend aside, the thobe is an essential household item. I don't think there is a single Dhofari woman who doesn't own one...or a hundred. I own several myself and find them very comfortable (as you can see in my profile pic). It takes a little getting used to, having plenty of material to reckon with. But the looseness provides breath ability and its very light weight. Since Eid Al-Adha is a mere 2 days away, every woman (including myself) is out and about shopping for the latest Thobes.  The traffic is horrific. It's a madhouse. Women handpicking and choosing, negotiating and contemplating. Cars lined up back to back inching down the street. Husbands, fathers, sons waiting patiently in the car as their women shop, shop shop! Last night, my friend and I stood at the doorway of one incredibly crowded shop, we gave each other "the look" , braced ourselves, heads bent, hands held and barged in to avoid the stampede. I found my Eid thobe, so did she, so it was worth the risk.

This morning, still tired from last nights excursion, I am sitting in my thobe, typing away and sipping my coffee. Its a beautiful day alhamdulilah.

p.s I absolutely love watching little ity bity girls run and play in their thobes!


  1. Salam Rania
    I was with my friends last night and "Father of the Tail" was one of our topics.
    We where in one of Sheeshah restaurants. The discussion started when a waitress with a baby face came to take the order. After she left, one of my friends said that she will be so beautiful and attractive in dhofari thobe, I said why? he said because in this thobe you need only to have a nice attractive face!!. He also said that the new generation doesn't like thobe because they are slim an sportive.It was my friend.
    Thank you for this blog and for your nice posts.. we need someone like you to help(compete with) Nadia.

  2. You know Ma7feef, I can read!!

  3. Salaam, very interesting conversation between you and your pals. I guess youre from Salalah. I think your friend is right, even on my worst days I slip on a thobe and nice earrings and voila, a million bucks! All my friends (18-30) seem to love the thobe, but if you are very active the thobe is not for you!

    So men like women in thobes huh?

    Honestly, I can only hope to be as informative, funny, entertaining, eloquent and as charming as Nadia. Pom Poms off to Nadia!! I also hope she can like me enough to meet me! (hint hint Nadia)

    Thank you for stopping by and for the encouragement.

  4. I wanna meet u both man, where and when do u plan to meet

  5. Men like women in thobes BUT they start to realise that they are cheated or conned(to some extent) because they don't know what is inside that loose fabric.. sometimes it is horrible!! am sorry to say that I know that both of you( Rania and Nadia agree with me!)

    Both of you are going to help those who need to go deeper in Dhofari culture

  6. Rania, I liked your poetic introduction.

    I don't need to scare you but when I was working in Kuwait in the 70 there was a real story that a man was dressed in abayeh - thoube who was picked up by a woman giving her (him) a lift, she was rapped then cut her tongue so she can't tell. She thought she was helping a woman for the ride. SO, I agree with you not knowing what is behind or under this thoube.

    I prefer that Oman create a law to protect women mostly at least to have their Abayeh shorter little bit to show the feet/toes at least you can tell if it is a man or woman. Trust me I'm speaking of women safety.

    As environmental I'm and with charity works, I asked some Omani ladies that if they collect half yard or one foot of each abayeh; I'm sure we can dress many naked children world wide...I don't believe they really need that excess to sweep even wet floors in the ladies bathrooms (another health hazard)

    It is getting extremely dangerous as I have witnessed some expat walking fast in the malls stepping on some one abayeh.... I hope Nadia or Reality agree with me. This has nothing to do with Islam and if any one doesn't agree then why all this heavy duty make-up and perfume to attract others.

    My daughter asked me whether in US or when she visited in Oman. When you walk NO one turn their heads as I blend in as any one, the minute you see someone with hijab people start to stare at them and her point that why also they wear heavy makeup which confuses her of what Islam has to do in such?

    Try watching youtube: Hijab style. As a Muslim woman I say WOW it is nothing about Islam as much as fashionable and more of a sexual attraction. Islam encourages beauty or fashion to be at home but outside should be decent not to intimidate the man since men can't use their brain to preserve their desires ( male created nature).

  7. These thobes, especially the ones with bright patterns, remind me of the dira' that Somali women wear. I hear that it was originally a Yemeni garment. I imagine that they are comfortable. The somali ones are too, but you do have to learn not to trip on the thing. It takes a little practice :-)

  8. I don't think I'm one of the generation Ma7feef's friend was talking about, but I find that Dhofari girls at my age or elder or younger loving this kind of traditional clothings. Why would we suffocate ourselves in other clothings? lol. And by the way, in the dorm you can see so many non-Dhofari girls wearing thobes =]

  9. When I lived in Salalah (I was 7), I owned one of those cotton thobes and I LOVED wearing it. It was very comfortable and I still remmber that I used feel like a turtle where I would burry my hands and legs under the thobe and curle on the ground .. so cool :D
    Since then, I consider dhofari abu thail the most elegent Omani outfit (ofcurse coz it hides alot :p )

  10. Thank you Um3azzan, as you said "it hides alot"

  11. yes, it hides everything! Too bad guys :)

  12. xD hello all im a Dhofari and although i dont live in salalah, i love wearing (father of the tail) :p
    As um3azzan said its comfortable. And also very unique!! Proud to be a Dhofari.

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