Mix & Match Handicrafts is a Jordanian handicrafts shop opened in July 2008 in Amman – Jordan. Specialized in Ladies wear : Aabaya's, tops and dresses, home accessories made from sewing special art pieces with embroidery or wooden pieces with eastern style design. All products are modern with eastern touch and proudly handmade in Jordan.
Our high quality collection of handicrafts is produced with local materials utilizing traditional skills and producing high end pieces that one will be proud to keep.
Eastern Touches in Modern Ways
May Batt Hajarat The Jordanian designer, who has a BCs degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Jordan, turned her career upside down when she decided to follow her passion towards art and handicrafts.
The eastern touch in all the products she designs is very obvious while practicality is always in hand. "I try to utilize Arabic calligraphy and Islamic ornaments in my designs as they are very rich and unique".
The variety of products from small pieces and gifts to home accessories and ladies Apparel makes you wonder how this busy lady and mother of three have time to run and manage such a place "Mix & Match Handicrafts".
" Our main work is sewing with embroidery from small gift items to wall hangers and ladies apparel, wooden pieces introducing mosaic, ceramic and hand painting, we do customized orders upon customer request"
1 • INTRODUCTION
The land of Jordan lies along an ancient and well-used trade route, making it geographically valuable. Many powers have ruled the land, under many different names. The modern Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was established on May 25, 1946. The current King Hussein was barely eighteen years old when he took the throne.
2 • LOCATION
Jordan is located on the East Bank of the Jordan River, with the Palestinians as its neighbors on the West Bank. South of the West Bank, Jordan shares a border with Israel. To the north lies Syria, and to the east and south lies Saudi Arabia. Iraq shares a northeastern border with Jordan. Jordan has three distinct zones: the Jordan River valley, which is green and fertile; mountainous regions in the north and south, which have a cool, Mediterranean climate; and the majority of the country, an arid desert. Among the 4 million people who live in Jordan, there is an ancient distinction between the people of the desert and the pople of the valley. The desert people are descended from warlike tribes. The valley people are considered more peaceful and more tolerant of other cultures.
3 • LANGUAGE
The official and most commonly spoken language of Jordan is Arabic. Many Jordanians also speak English. "Hello" in Arabic is marhaba or ahlan, to which one replies, arhabtayn or ahlayn. Other common greetings are as-salam alaykum (peace be with you), with the reply of walaykum as-salam (and to you peace). The numbers one to ten in Arabic are: wahad, itnin, talata, arba'a, khamsa, sitta, saba'a, tamania, tisa'a, and ashara . Common names for boys are Talal, Muhammad, and 'Abdullah. Common names for girls are: Fadwa, Leila, Fatima, and Reem .
4 • FOLKLORE
Jordanians are very superstitious people. They are firm believers in fate and omens. When someone is sick or injured, it is believed to be the result of rire (jealousy) and hassad (envy). "Coffee ladies" read fortunes in the dregs of a cup of coffee. To ward off the "evil eye," incense is burned, a lamb is offered to the poor, and a blue medallion is worn around the neck. Jordanian folktales, particularly those of the Bedu (Bedouin), often feature themes of honor, generosity, and hospitality, all considered important Arab attributes. One folk story revolves around the legendary Hatim al-Ta'i, whose name means "generosity." Before Hatim's birth, when his mother was newly married, she dreamt that she was offered a choice: she could either bear ten brave sons or she could have one son, Hatim, who would possess superior generosity. She chose to have Hatim, and indeed he proved to be highly generous. When Hatim was sent to take the family's camels to pasture, Hatim proudly returned to tell his dismayed father that he had given away every one of the camels, and that this no doubt would bring fame to the family name. This story typifies the importance that Jordanians place on generosity.
5 • RELIGION
More than 90 percent of Jordanians are Sunni Muslim, the majority sect of Islam. The remaining Jordanians belong to a wide range of Muslim and Christian sects. Islam impacts almost every aspect of the lives of Jordanians. There is no such thing as the "separation of church and state" in an Islamic country such as Jordan. Religion plays just as large a part in government as it does in the everyday life of Jordanians.
6 • MAJOR HOLIDAYS
Friday is the Islamic day of rest, so most businesses and services are closed on Fridays. The main Muslim holidays include: Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year during which everyone fasts from dawn to dusk; Eid al-Fitr, a three-day festival at the end of Ramadan; the First of Muharram, or the Muslim New Year; Mawoulid An-Nabawi, the Prophet Muhammad's birthday; and Eid al-Isra wa Al-Miraj, a feast celebrating the nocturnal visit of Muhammad to heaven. Fixed public holidays in Jordan include the Christian New Year (January 1); Tree Day (January 15); Arab League Day (March 22); Labor Day (May 1); Independence Day (May 25); Arab Renaissance Day (commemorating the Arab Revolt) and Army Day (both on June 10); King Hussein's accession to the throne (August 11); King Hussein's birthday (November 14); and Christmas (December 25).
7 • RITES OF PASSAGE
Weddings are the most important event in a Jordanian's lifetime. The cost of the celebration is second only to that of buying a home. Guest lists can number anywhere from 200 to 2,000 people. Births are also joyfully celebrated, with the mother's family providing the child's first wardrobe and furniture. The aza, or "condolence period," following a death is a very important ritual in Jordanian society. It is essential to attend the aza of a neighbor or colleague. It is even required of the relative of a neighbor or colleague of a deceased person. During the aza, men and women sit in separate rooms in the house of the deceased and drink black, unsweetened Arabic coffee. For forty days after the death, the aza is reopened every Monday and Thursday at the deceased's home. Jordanians wear black for mourning, contrary to the Islamic custom of wearing white or beige during mourning.
8 • RELATIONSHIPS
Jordanians are generally introverted and conservative, yet they are extremely hospitable. When invited to a Jordanian home, a guest is expected to bring nothing and eat everything. In personal encounters, Jordanians are formal and polite.
9 • LIVING CONDITIONS
Before 1979, few houses had piped water. Most houses still simply have home storage tanks and rely on water deliveries by truck. Due to a severe water shortage, rationing is in effect. About 70 percent of Jordanians live in urban areas, most of them in the capital city of Amman (considered one of the cleanest and most efficient cities of the Arab world). Jordan is among the top ten countries of the world in reducing infant mortality, and life expectancies are fairly high: sixty-seven years for men and seventy-one for women. Because of the difficulty in finding employment in Jordan, particularly for skilled workers, many Jordanians go abroad in search of work. The majority go to the Persian Gulf oil states (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), whose small populations require them to import laborers from neighboring states. Working in the Gulf allows Jordanians to earn steady incomes, a percentage of which they send to family members in Jordan, thus helping the Jordanian economy.
10 • FAMILY LIFE
Traditional values are very important to Jordanians. Marriages usually result from family introductions, if not outright matches. Couples are almost never forced to marry against their will, however. Upper-middle-class couples court each other in the Western style. One out of five marriages ends in divorce, and divorced women rarely remarry because of the stigma attached to them by society. A married woman's primary role is to produce children, preferably sons. A woman with many sons is considered more powerful than a woman with only daughters. The average Jordanian family has seven children, giving Jordan one of the highest birth rates in the world. Women are guaranteed equal rights in the Jordanian constitution. Religious laws and social custom often undermine this. However, there are a few women in the Jordanian Parliament, suggesting their improved status. Homes are built so that floors can be added when sons marry. Sons bring their brides home and they raise their family there. Most Jordanians live in three- or fourstory homes containing extended families who eat together. Daughters-in-law are expected to do most of the cooking. Men never cook or do housework.
11 • CLOTHING
The Islamic tradition of women covering their faces is currently becoming more popular in Jordan. Everyday Jordanian dress is generally conservative, particularly for women. They are not allowed to wear tight clothes, sleeveless blouses, shorts, short skirts, or low-cut backs on shirts or dresses. There are basically three styles of clothing for women in Jordan. Westernized women dress in modern Western clothes. Very religious women wear an outfit called the libis shar'i or jilbab. This is a floor-length, long-sleeved, button-front dress worn with the hair covered by a scarf. Stores catering to religious women are common in Jordan. Women from other Muslim countries shop in Jordan for libis shar'i clothing. The third type of attire is the national costume. This is a handmade dress with embroidered and cross-stitched patterns that represent the region of the country that the wearer comes from. For example, in northern Jordan, women wear black cotton dresses embroidered with multicolored tri-angles. In central Jordan, women wear dresses made from over sixteen yards (sixteen meters) of fabric, with sleeves measuring ten feet (three meters) in length. Blue panels are stitched around the sleeves and the hem of the dress.
12 • CULTURAL HERITAGE
Islam teaches that it is unholy to depict the human figure. This has significantly shaped Jordanian art. Western-style fine arts became popular in the late twentieth century as more Jordanians traveled to other countries. Recently, however, there has been a revival of more traditional Jordanian art forms. This is especially true of stylized Islamic calligraphy, or artistic writing. The traditional dance of Jordan is the dabkeh, a group dance performed by both men and women. Traditional musical instruments include the qassaba and nay, wood-winds; the rababa, a one-stringed instrument; the kamanja, resembling a violin; the ud (lute), with five double strings; the qanun, a long, guitarlike instrument with twenty-six strings; and the daff and durbakkeh, percussion instruments.
13 • CRAFTS AND HOBBIES
There are many traditional folk arts and crafts in Jordan, among them pottery, silver and gold jewelry making, glass blowing, and basket weaving. Textile arts are women's crafts, particularly embroidery and cloth weaving. As young girls learn embroidery stitches from older women, they are initiated into the culture.
Jordanian Traditional Costumes
Obviously textiles have the basic function of covering and protecting the body, but their transformation into garments with distinctive shapes and decorative embellishments is a cultural phenomenon.
Jordanian costume is characterized by its elegance, originality, and practicality. The Jordanian costume is also remarkable for its vast diversity, despite Jordan's relatively small geographical area. This variation reflects different styles of living, for example, the agricultural societies of the north and the Bedouin nomadic and settled communities of the south.
If these costumes are to be taken as a representation of Jordanian culture, then they reflect a uniqueness that has been largely ignored, since the Jordanian people have generally been looked upon as yet another part of Bilad Esham (the Arabic term for greater Syria, i.e. Palestine, Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon).
In Amman, the capital, and its surrounds a lot of the traditional costumes were influenced by the Palestinian traditional embroidery as many Palestinians over the years settled in that area starting in the 1920's for economical reasons, while many more were forced to leave Palestine by the Israeli when the war broke out in 1948 and later in 1967.
Men's clothing, though plainer and less varied than the richly decorated costumes of women, was still a rich medium for visual statements about identity, age and status, and was also subject to changes in fashion as individuals and groups sought to emulate their superiors and display their wealth.
If one investigates the traditional daily life of a Jordanian woman, it is a wonder how such expertise and artistry existed in her attire. Traditionally females were assigned the domestic sphere, which included a heavy responsibility towards the home and children.
The woman was responsible for everything that did not deal with public life. She was responsible for the cooking, drying, pickling or storing of food. With the men of the family she was responsible for planting, weeding and reaping. She was also responsible for the livestock and poultry. Lastly she was responsible for producing all kitchen utensils. This included straw weaving, pottery making, and weaving the household rugs.
Whatever the Jordanian woman did, she always had a high standard of craftsmanship, taste, and color harmony. She also had special pride in her work and identity with her own village or kin. Her burden of work was heavy, yet time was allocated to embroidery and dressmaking. Although important, embroidery was considered part of her leisure time. It was the time used for socializing with related women as they sat and embroidered together, putting their culture's signature on their wear.