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Tajikistan's Hajj Dress Code

Muslim hajj pilgrims perform the evening prayer near the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Mecca. (file photo)
It seems Tajik pilgrims will stand out from the crowd when the annual hajj pilgrimage begins in Mecca next month.

A new hajj uniform has been designed by Tajikistan's Committee for Religious Affairs and will soon be distributed to the country's 5,500 prospective pilgrims.

Men will don two-piece suits, while women wear long-sleeved dresses complete with head scarves, committee officials told local media.

The Tajik hajj uniform is embroidered with the country's symbols, possibly the nation's flag or coat of arms, religious officials said.

The inscription of the country's name, in Latin letters, will be prominently seen on women's head scarves and men's shirt pockets.

The garments come with matching suitcases. Taking Saudi Arabia's hot weather into account, the uniforms are made from a lightweight fabric.

The committee says having a special uniform will make it easier for trip organizers and the pilgrims not to lose each other among huge crowds during the hajj.

Tajik pilgrims might, indeed, look drastically different to others: the religious committee has hinted that in choosing the color, the designers have not opted for the traditional white.

The color and other details of the uniforms are being kept under wraps until they are handed over -- at $50 a set -- to prospective pilgrims shortly before their trip to Mecca.

According to the Islamic lunar calendar, the hajj is scheduled to fall between November 4 and November 9, 2011.

Every year, some 2 million Muslim men and women perform the hajj pilgrimage, the fifth pillar of Islam.

-- Farangis Najibullah