The flag of the United Arab Emirates was adopted on December 2, 1971, now known as ‘National Day’ in the UAE.
The combination of the Pan-Arab colours red, green white and black symbolizes Arabian Unity while each individual colour means the following:
Black: Oil Wealth
Getting around: Taxis are plentiful in Al Ain and are metered using international standards. In terms of car rentals, self-drive and chauffeur-driven cars are also widely available. Public transport is available for intercity and outer city travel.
The Al Ain public bus transport system is common to most residents in the city. If you want to see the city in a whole new perspective you can give it a try.
The bus stops are visible in most parts of the city – just be sure you are standing at the designated bus stop, not a taxi stop as the bus will zoom past you! The cost is one dirham. For full bus schedules and bus network maps for all of Abu Dhabi visit: http://ojra.ae/en_bus.htm and click on the appropriate city.
Abaya: An abaya is the long flowing over garment or gown which Emirati females wear over their clothes. The original meaning of the word abaya was ‘modesty’. Abayas are usually made from loose flowing fabrics such as crepe and are quite elegant, often times costing hundreds or thousands of dirhams. Underneath the abaya women will wear anything from western dress to ‘jelabia’.
The abaya is part of the UAE National dress and it is incorrect to call it a burqa.
Burqa: The burqa is a large piece of material covering the entire body, including the face and head. The burqa is not generally worn by Emirati women, although may be seen in the Emirates.
Jelabia: This is a long flowing dress, often in many colours. The jelabia is sometimes worn under the abaya as well as to special occasions such as weddings.
Shela (Sheila): The sheila is a piece of material used to cover the head, otherwise known as a headscarf. Sheilas come in many colours and designs, however, Emirati women will generally wear black ones with some having intricate trimmings on them.
Hijab: The word hijab is often used interchangeably with sheila by non-Arabic speakers. However, hijab means the act of covering one’s hair while sheila is the actual fabric covering the head.
Niqab: This is a veil which covers the whole face, except for the eyes. Islamic Scholars differ in opinion as to whether the niqab is an obligatory form of hijab or if it is merely permissible or cultural.
Gishwa: The Gishwa is the thin black veil covering the entire face of the female.
1.Kandora (Kandura), Dishdash or Thoub?
Some use the word ‘thoub’ (thaub) to describe this garment. However, the word ‘thoub’ is the standard Arabic word for ‘ a garment’ and can be used to describe similar women’s garment’s as well. Most commonly in the UAE the word ‘Kandora’ (or Kandura) is used to describe this tunic, however, you may also hear it described as a 'dishdash'.
The Kandora is long sleeved and generally long in length. You will notice length variations though, with some reaching only mid-calf while others go just below the ankle. Shorter lengths traditionally represent modesty and following in Prophet Muhammed’s(PBUH) footsteps.
You may see a decorative tassel at the front of the Kandora which was originally perfumed and some kandora’s may have a collar at the front.
2.Ghutra: This is the head covering which is worn with the Kandora. The Ghutra can be of any color but you will see the majority being white. The red and white check fabric traditionally indicates the army. You may also hear of this referred to as the Keffiyeh.
3.Igal (or Agal): This woven black hoop that you see placed on top of the Ghutra developed as a means to hold the Ghutra down. The Igal is used in a figure 8 shape as it was originally used for tying the camel’s front legs, so it would not run away from its owner.
4.Bisht: This is a long, sleeved vest that may be worn over the Kandora. You will often see the Bisht worn for special occasions such as weddings. Traditionally they are black or cream coloured and may have embroidery and decorations around the edges and hems.
5.Tagiyah: A small, white skullcap worn under the Ghutra. Usually knitted or crocheted from wool or cotton.
Under the Kandora men usually wear a white t-shirt and either shorts or, more traditionally, a sarong style piece of material wrapped around the waist.