“In the book of Lamentations, Jerusalem is presented as a series of feminine metaphors. (…) She is called a widow, a queen among the provinces, the Daughter of Zion, the Virgin Daughter of Judah. She weeps at night, her tears flow like a river, her lovers fail to console her. From beginning to end, Jerusalem is a woman. However this aspect of the text cannot be reproduced in the Garifuna translation, because in this language all cities are masculine. Jerusalem becomes the king of all provinces and the lovers who fail to console him are women.” (Source: Ronald Ross in Omanson 2001, p. 374)
The Hebrew or Greek which are translated into English as “sackcloth” are rendered into Chamula Tzotzil as “sad-heart clothes.” (Source: Robert Bascom)
Pohnpeian and Chuukese translate it as “clothing-of sadness,” Eastern Highland Otomi uses “clothing that hurts,” Central Mazahua “that which is scratchy,” and Tae’ and Zarma “rags.” (Source: Reiling / Swellengrebel)
“In Turkana, a woman removes her normal everyday skin clothes and ornaments and wears rather poor skins during the time of mourning. The whole custom is known as ngiboro. It is very difficult to translate putting on sackcloth because even material like sacking is unfamiliar. The Haya, on the other hand, have a mourning cloth made out of the bark of a tree; and the use of this cloth is similar to the Jewish use of sackcloth. It was found that in both the Turkana and Ruhaya common language translations, their traditional mourning ceremonies were used.” (Source: Rachel Konyoro in The Bible Translator 1985, p. 221ff.)
Click or tap here to see a short video clip showing what a sackcloth looked like in biblical times (source: Bible Lands 2012)
See also you have loosed my sackcloth.
“Navajo distinguishes between a man’s son or daughter and a woman’s son or daughter by the use of different terms for each. So the gender of Zion had to be determined. The problem was settled when a friend called to our attention a number of verses in the Old Testament where Zion is referred to as “she” or “her”, e.g. Ps. 87:5, 48:12, Is. 4:5, 66:8. The term for a woman’s daughter is biché’é, so the “daughter of Zion” became Záiyon biché’é ‘Zion her-daughter’.”
Source: Faye Edgerton in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 25ff.