Wear a Thobe and Give a Nod to Bethlehem

Wear a Thobe and Give a Nod to Bethlehem

The Holy Land Gift Shop carries a unique form of Palestinian clothing for women: the thobe, which when translated, literally means “dress.”

The Holy Land Gift Shop carries a unique form of Palestinian clothing for women: the thobe, which when translated, literally means “dress.”

This version is a bit shorter than a traditional thobe (shown above) but has the same style of traditional embroidery worn in the region of Bethlehem where it’s hand-stitched at the Arab Women’s Union Embroidery Center.

Here’s more on the thobe from Thaqafa  Magazine (Original post here.)  

The thobe is an ankle-length robe commonly worn in the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring countries by both Christian and Muslim Arabs.

On sale at the Holy Land Gift Shop through July – modern version of a traditional thobe from Bethlehem!

The thobe is an ankle-length robe commonly worn in the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring countries by both Christian and Muslim Arabs. The materials, dyes, and patterns used to create the thobe are emblematic of Palestinian history and daily life. Similar to traditional dress across the globe, clothing patterns and prints are infused with folklore, religious imagery, local nature, and serve as a record of cross-cultural interaction.  

The thobe is an ankle-length robe commonly worn in the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring countries by both Christian and Muslim Arabs. The materials, dyes, and patterns used to create the thobe are emblematic of Palestinian history and daily life. Similar to traditional dress across the globe, clothing patterns and prints are infused with folklore, religious imagery, local nature, and serve as a record of cross-cultural interaction.

This thobe has a few different kinds of embroidered embellishments.

Based on your thobe, I can tell you’re from…

Thobes were embellished with ornate designs specific to each region. This practice faded during the 1950’s as a result of a particularly turbulent moment in Palestinian history. Many were fleeing their homes and many more lived in camps, leaving little time or money to create anything unnecessary to their immediate survival. In 1967, a trend developed which continued into the next decade.  Patriotism began to weave its way into the thobe via nationalistic symbols such as the Palestinian flag and the Dome of the Rock.

Materials Used

The majority of thobes were made of linen, cotton, wool, and silk, handwoven in factories across Palestine. Some materials had to be imported from Egypt, Syria, Europe and India if they could not be produced at home. The dyes shrouding each thread were also garnered from Palestinian nature: red from pomegranate skins, indigo from a plant found in the Jordan valley (Indigofera tinctoria), yellow-green from sumac, black from walnut skins, and yellow from vine leaves.

Motifs varied from region to region, but some of the most popular included the eight-pointed Star of Bethlehem stemming from a Sumerian tradition representing the Canaanite goddess Astarte.

This thobe has a few different kinds of embroidered embellishments.

Popular Embroidery

Motifs varied from region to region, but some of the most popular included the eight-pointed Star of Bethlehem stemming from a Sumerian tradition representing the Canaanite goddess Astarte. Many other embroidered motifs symbolized elements of daily life including palms, cypress trees, the damask rose, kohl bottles, and cauliflowers. One would be able to recognize where another person lived by these motifs. For example, Beit Dajan was popular for its orange orchards, therefore orange blossom was a popular pattern of choice.

You can get a shorter version of a traditional thobe from Bethlehem at the Holy Land Gift Shop. All embroidery from the Holy Land Gift Shop is hand-stitched in Bethlehem.

2018-08-21T11:17:52+00:00 July 26th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Wear a Thobe and Give a Nod to Bethlehem