The image of the hijab means a lot of things to many different people.
But what does it really mean, to the millions of women who wear the hijab every day, all over the world?
With just that thought, the annual event of World Hijab Day was launched in 2013 – since then, it’s been celebrated in a number of beautiful ways in several countries, and continues to be an inspiring and educational day – both for women who wear the hijab, and others around them.
Read on to find out more about World Hijab Day – and how you can take part!
Fighting discrimination with education
World Hijab Day was the brainchild of New Yorker, Nazma Khan. A young woman who knew just what it meant to face discrimination as the only hijab wearer, or hijabi, in her school, and hearing even more discriminatory comments once she entered university – she felt it was time to take action.
And harnessing the power of social media, she launched World Hijab Day. This annual event has caught the attention of both Muslims and non-Muslims in over 140 countries, and there are more than 91 World Hijab Day Ambassadors across the globe.
Each year, World Hijab Day becomes an opportunity for people to share their hijab experience with others, ask questions, learn – and simply celebrate in this beautiful sign of individuality and faith.
Fighting pre-conceptions and sharing stories
As World Hijab Day has grown in popularity each year, it has also helped to spread greater awareness – and entice curiosity about what the hijab really means.
For those who have never worn the hijab – or may not even be Muslim themselves, it can sometimes seem like a strange and alien concept. World Hijab Day gives people the perfect time to ask questions – and even try it out for a day!
And many people have done just that. Whether in an act of solidarity – to support their Muslim friends by sharing their experience for the day, or to explore for themselves what it actually feels like to wear the hijab, it can be an insightful and surprising experience.
The biggest surprise many people have found is that it has often changed their opinion of those who wear hijab – and it has also often transformed the people around them. By seeing someone they know wear this often controversial head scarf – and realising that they are a human with the same feelings, passions and dreams as everyone else, this simply gesture can have an incredibly profound effect.
And for those who wear the hijab themselves, World Hijab Day is also a wonderful opportunity to enjoy solidarity – by knowing that millions of other women around the world are sharing their experience with them for one day.
For women growing up and living in communities where the hijab is a rare sight – only ever seen in heated news reports – it can be a challenge to wear, and embrace this aspect of their faith.
But by sharing their stories of their journey to wearing the hijab – and seeing how others are also learning about what it means and feels like – it can be a liberating and empowering moment.
This year, there will be plenty of events all around the world – in universities and schools, workplaces and malls – as well as lots of people marking the day themselves.
How will you take part in World Hijab Day? Make it your own, by sharing your personal hijab experience with friends and family.
Why not share your best selfies wearing the hijab – showcasing how stylish you can look, while dressed modestly?
Or encourage a friend to try the hijab for a day – and find out how she feels afterwards! It’s a great way to share understanding, tolerance, and help people answer questions about what the hijab really means.