Why an abaya?
The abaya is a simple, loose garment, (a type of dress) worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world, including North Africa, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula. An abaya is put on over other clothes, which are worn at home.
The traditional abaya are black and can be a large piece of cloth draped from the shoulders or head, or a long kaftan. The abaya covers the entire body except the head, feet and hands. It can be worn in conjunction with the niqab, a facial veil that covers everything but the eyes. Some women also wear long black gloves so that their hands are also covered.
It is customary for the abaya to be worn on special occasions, such as mosque visits and Islamic holidays such as the Sugar Feast and the Feast of the Sacrifice. Some women wear it daily when they appear in public.
In contrast to the Indonesian traditional clothing, kebaja owes its name to the abaya.