Burqa is the veil worn by women in Oman. It covers the lower part of the face — from mouth to chin — and partially covers the forehead.
The size and shape of the Burqa, the facial mask, differs from region to region and it comes in different colours, such as yellow, red, green, purple and black. It is predominantly made of fabric known as Sheil. Girls begin to use burqa at the age of 14 or once they get engaged. It is part of the Omani tradition, which is disappearing slowly as women replaced burqa with other face make-up. But I still believe the mask enhances the beauty of women. Some women also use it to cover their faces when they become widows and shouldn’t be seen by non-Mehrams (Men who are not her brother, father or uncles). With more women engaging in manufacturing burqa, the availability has increased all over the Sultanate. The burqa is available in all souqs across the Sultanate. Earlier the cost used to be OMR1. Now, burqas cost OMR2.500 to OMR5 and the pricing depends on the design.
STYLE AND COLOUR OF BURQA
The style and colour of burqa vary from region to region. In Buraimi and Musandam, women wear thin, gold coloured face masks. Women in Sharqiyah and Sharqiyah Sands use the same colour, but the masks are made of thicker material. Another marked difference is that the burqa is not flat like the northern style, but forms a kind of beak in the middle. In Al Wusta region, women prefer burqas made of thick fabric.
BURQA – THE CURRENT TREND
These days, Omani burqa is not just worn by Bedouin girls. Women in the cities wear it on special occasions like engagements and weddings. It has also developed into a fashion item.