13 year tradition continues to grow

Kurdish traditional attire day celebrated across region

ERBIL — For more than 13 years, March 10 has been observed and celebrated in Kurdistan by a wide range of government agencies and educational institutions, where students, employees, and officials don traditional Kurdish attire. Although officially designated as National Dress Day, it is commonly referred to as Kurdish Dress Day.

The Ministry of Education established March 10 as National Dress Day in 2011, initially applying only to educational institutions. Over time, participation has expanded to include employees from various government departments wearing national garments.

A 964media investigation found that there is no specific law or parliamentary decision in the Kurdistan Parliament regarding national dress; the observance is based on a directive from the Ministry of Education dating back to 2011.

Dr. Khamosh Omar, a legal advisor to the Kurdistan Parliament, clarified that the directive does not legally mandate compliance. He differentiated between laws, decisions, and guidelines, noting that each originates from different authorities and has varying levels of enforceability. Essentially, ministry decisions are binding only within that ministry’s departments and do not possess wide legal authority.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s website acknowledges the region’s ethnic diversity, including Kurds, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriacs, Turkmen, Yazidis, and Arabs, each with their unique traditional attire.

As the majority ethnic group, Kurds have a rich variety of traditional clothing that differs by region, featuring distinct styles for men and women, including the ranc, chogha, shal, shapk, kewa, salta, kurtac, and sharwal for men, and various regional dresses for women.

Reza Sadoon, a prominent tailor in Sulaymaniyah, has observed a decline in interest in Kurdish traditional attire this year, attributing it to financial difficulties and the overlap of Ramadan and Newroz celebrations.

With the Kurdistan region gearing up to celebrate Newroz on the evening of March 20, 2024, coinciding with Ramadan, tailors like Sadoon are experiencing a drop in demand.

This economic slump is compounded by the fact that many people already own multiple Kurdish outfits, reducing the necessity for annual purchases.

Despite the economic challenges impacting the demand for traditional attire, Sadoon points out that the cost of materials for a set of men’s Kurdish dress has remained relatively stable over the past 30 years, starting from 70,000 to 100,000 Iraqi dinars, depending on the fabric.

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