What is a Turban

A turban is a traditional headgear of people mostly in South Asia and West Asia. It has a religious significance for the Sikh community of India. The founder of the Sikh religion has ordained that his true followers should not shave or cut their hair. The hair must be hidden with a turban. Even the most secular Sikhs who otherwise are very liberal in their outlook do not waver from following this edict of their founder guru.

Many Muslim mullahs use turban but it is not a religious symbol, but it is worn for personal convenience and identity. Otherwise turban is a form of headgear as in the West. Turbans are used for formal occasions like marriages, meeting important personalities etc. In the villages it is worn in a rough manner, even daily using short length of cloth. For farmers working in fields the turban gives protection from hot sun.

In the hot and humid climate of South Asia the common people generally do not wear a turban. In many parts of India through to West Asia the practice of wearing turban by the common man is prevalent. These turbans are cumbersome to wear because they are made with long pieces of cloth, usually of cotton and white in color. In Western countries it is more commonly used in hospitals where patients are required to see that their heads remain warm, especially after chemotherapy.

Turban can be worn in a very stylish fashion, making them look very attractive as is being done by the Sikh community. It is a very skilled job using long lengths of colored cloth of good material and people get experts at it even at a very early age. Many forms of turban are very ornamental. An embellished with precious stone, golden tiaras and attractive feathers. It is a symbol of aristocracy and royalty.

The turban has various names according to the country in which it is being used. Some communities in Africa also use the turban to identify with a particular religion. The material used for a turban can be various types of fabrics and in different colors. From the plain white muslin and rich embroidered turbans, the variety is great.

It appears that in the past in the16th century or so Europeans had a fascination for turbans perhaps because of the association with Turkey. The hat having become the common form of headgear, the West has no use for turban any more. Unfortunately, wearing a turban is another reason for Westerners to practice discrimination after the turban got associated with terrorist leader.

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