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Iraq: Black – The Colour of Grief

Iraqi women are now accustomed to wearing black – the colour of grief and mourning, notes Inside Iraq. But amid the darkness and gloom, some young women admit to wearing brown, green and even pink!

According to Correspondent Jenan:

Black is the favorite color for Iraqi women's clothing–not because they like it, but because they are used to wearing it. For decades Iraqi women have suffered from wars, sometimes losing their loved ones. That has caused them to wear black to show their deep grief.

Such a custom, means brisk business for fabric merchants. Jenan points:

Even Iraqi merchants import black clothes more than any other color, to meet demands of the marketplace.

“What other standards do Iraqi women fellow to choose the color of their clothes?” asks Jenan and then responds:

The most widely used, as explained earlier, is black. Besides for mourning, black is also used in our traditional costume called an aba (gown).

The blogger relates her personal experience with her mother, who has donned black from head to toe for 28 years. She writes:

Ever since 1980 until today I see my mom wearing black clothes from the top of her head to her toes. She first started wearing back after the death of my father 28 years ago, and she has never changed it even once, despite whatever happiness has happened in our family. My mom is like millions of Iraqi women who lost their husbands, brothers, sons or other loved ones.

Once I aasked my mom to put at least a white scarf on her head instead of a black one,. She replied: “It is shameful wearing colorful clothes if you have lost your beloved.” My mom was convinced that women who lost their loved ones shouldn’t wear any color but black.

What about Jenan? What does she like? She confesses:

As for myself, I like to wear different colors. I especially like brown and green–and sometimes even pink! It doesn't have to be a special occasion for me to wear pink, just whenever I feel like it. Besides abas, we wear veils, and they should be color-coordinated with the other color you are wearing.

Underneath the aba, you can wear any color you wish, but for the veil which goes over and around your head, it should be harmonious with the color of your aba. You should also wear only black sandals with your black aba. With other colors of clothes, you can wear different shoes of different colors.

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