One of the highlights of the FIFA World Cup was Lionel Messi wearing a black robe as he held the trophy. In case you are not familiar, the robe that Messi, an Argentinian footballer, wore, is called a bisht. It is a symbol of prestige in the Arab community.
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What made the moment extraordinary was that the Emir of Qatar was the one who gave it to Messi. Several media outlets have picked up on its significance. This robe also raised consciousness among football fans all over the world.
What you need to know about the bisht
The bisht is a black robe with gold trimmings that is usually worn by men in the Gulf Region, including Qatar. This robe is also called a mishlah or an abaya. Some historians trace its origin from the Persian pilgrims.
While black is the more common color of bisht, it also comes in brown and white hues. A high-quality bisht is made of spun camel hair. There are also some robes that are made from goat’s hair or wool. It is also possible to use cotton or polyester to create more affordable clothing.
The bisht also has gold stitching, known as zari. It is sewn along the edges of the fabric, using silk thread. The usual colors used are gold and silver.
When can you wear the bisht?
On special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and funerals, you can see the men wearing it. During prayers, some imams are also seen in this robe. There are also some instances where members of the diplomatic corps wear it when they are at official functions with other countries. And most importantly, members of the royal family also wear the bisht on formal occasions.
In the past, Bedouins used to wear the bisht as protection against the cold winds in the desert. Since then, this clothing has come a long way.
How do you wear a bisht?
The bisht is a buttonless robe. Those who wear it usually leave it open and let it hang on their body. At times, the wearer can hold onto a side of it while he walks.
What does it mean for Messi to wear a bisht?
When Argentina won the World Cup, its captain, Lionel Messi, received a bisht from Qatar’s emir. This is a symbolic gesture from the head of a country, as well as the host of the tournament.
The traditional garment is usually reserved for high-ranking officials and personalities in the Gulf Region. Those who receive the bisht are respected and well-liked in society. In a way, experts say that giving Messi the bisht during the award ceremonies is the country’s way of honoring the team leader.
The upside of this event is the renewed interest in traditional Arab clothing. A news article that appeared in the Philippine News Agency said football fans scoured the souq to buy their own bisht. The stall owners in the souq also expect more sales, especially from their Western guests.