Thursday, August 23, 2012

Historical Head-Covering: Yemenite Wedding Headdresses

We're off to another wedding tonight, so in its honor, here's a post about Yemenite Jewish wedding head coverings.  These are much more exciting than (the future post of) what I wore to a wedding...  Enjoy!

When I started to research Yemenite Jewish head coverings, I fell into the trap of presuming that there was one standard Yemenite Jewish style of dress.  Instead, I found that the images in my mind, particularly of Yemenite bridal headdresses are actually the way that brides in Sana'a were dressed, and that different regions had different customs.  The ethnic diversity of Jewish customs in fact was even more diverse than I had set out to demonstrate.  So take all of this as a general statement, rather than a description of all the details of how Jewish women all over Yemen used to dress for their weddings.

There was even one set of photographs that came up again and again, showing tishbuk lulu, the Sana'a wedding headdress, on a variety of websites- apparently the standard photo of a Jewish Yemenite bride.  These headdresses are frequently also bedecked with flowers and rue leaves.

 In contrast to these couple of extraordinarily elaborate photos, some more searching revealed others with very different styling.  Instead of a high, pointed headdress, some of the other regions seem to show brides with hood-like headdresses, or with decorations that come down onto the forehead.

Thanks for this set of photos goes to  The same page also has a historical picture of Sana'a's wedding headdress.

I also found the interesting note that new mothers also wore (at least in some part(s) of Yemen) a headdress similar to that of a bride.

This has all been internet research- I hope to have a chance to do more formal research and to share it with you, at some point in the future.


  1. I love seeing ethnic headgear. It's my dream to walk around with a tikka, but that may mess with my bangs.

    1. I can see how a tikka and bangs might be hard to fit together... On the other hand, I've done things that emulate exactly that sort of thing (although I hadn't known it was called a tikka- thanks for the vocabulary!) with a tichel.

      It brings up some questions of orientalism, which I don't know how to deal with, but they're just So pretty.

  2. WOW! It is my pleasure to know a little about those historical weddings. Very unique and I like it.