RIYADH: Putting the gold-corded agal (headband) on his head like his grandfather did before him, and placing the brown bisht (cloak) over his shoulders, Turki Abothnain felt proud of be on Riyadh City Boulevard to celebrate the country’s first founding day on Tuesday.
“I feel so moved to wear our traditional clothes because we needed to be reminded of where it all started,” he told Arab News. “I wear the central region uniform and my brother wears a uniform called daglah with sashes. Daglah is a kind of thick top that is worn over the white thobe.
Earlier this month, the chairman of the Fashion Commission and General Entertainment Authority, Turki Al-Sheikh, encouraged people to wear traditional Saudi costumes – and to represent their regions – for the new national holiday of the February 22.
Lina Al-Hessaini, from Medina, wore a white dress and veil from the western region. She said this style of dress was worn in the past on special occasions.
“Our grandmothers wore this at weddings and other occasions like baby showers, and my brother wears the Hijazi headband. It’s something we always wear during the months of Ramadan and Sha’aban,” said she told Arab News.
For foreign visitors who found themselves in Riyadh that evening, the display of traditional Saudi clothing caused surprise and delight.
Theo and Caren Clainon from South Africa expressed the joy they felt upon seeing the Foundation Day celebrations and outfits.
“Everyone here is very friendly and we love cultural costumes. Honestly, we wish we had known (because) we would have worn a costume too and we love this initiative because not all countries have this day”, – They told Arab News, “We saw a baby with gold bracelets. She was so cute and we loved the polka dot dresses. The variety of costumes – like everyone was celebrating everyone.”
Muataz Mosa Al-Dawsari wore the traditional Najdi (Central Region) costume because it reflected the heritage of his parents and grandparents.
“I chose the boulevard to show my story and show them what we looked like,” he told Arab News.
With his long braided black hair and his belts crossed over his chest, he caught the attention of many people who came to take his picture.
“It’s a culture, customs, traditions, principles and history that we want to teach the next generation,” he said.
Like many other women who excavated their mother’s old items to show off on Foundation Day, Huda Al-Ahmari brought a vintage handbag and silverware from the south.
“It’s from my mother and it was a gift from my father, so this bag has been passed down from generation to generation,” she told Arab News. “He accompanied her everywhere during the day to carry everything she needed, such as her perfume, the traditional Arab eyeliner and her gold.”
She said her dress was inspired by her village, Abha Asir. At that time, they only wore silver, as gold was not common in his area.
“Even this antique silver necklace that I borrowed from my mother to wear on this occasion,” she added.
Ali Ati came from the southern region with his chest decorated with jasmine flowers, as Jazan is known for the floral headbands and garlands that its people wear at weddings and traditional occasions.
“This outfit is inspired by the Jazan heritage, which is the coastal mountain clothing in Jazan. It is a garment that has been passed down for generations and is still sold in Jazan markets. is part of this outfit. For example, the bride in Jazan must be adorned with jasmine from head to toe,” he told Arab News.
“Founding Day is a special day because you see more than one culture in different outfits, and we celebrate our differences. It’s an honor for every Saudi.
Moudi Al-Rubiaan dressed his daughter Abrar Al-Twairqi in a white and gold dress inspired by the heritage of Medina and Taif.
“Foundation day showed the beauty of women and authentic Arab dress. I was a kid. My kids were asking me earlier today if I still looked like this before and I proudly said yes,” she told Arab News.
With emotion in her voice and tears in her eyes, she said, “I hope we can still live like this and show the next generation our times and how we lived.”