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Kyrgyzstan National Hat Day – March 5, 2023

The Kyrgyzstan National Hat Day has been observed in Kyrgyzstan since March 5, 2011, thanks to filmmaker Yrysbek Jabirov’s initiative. The ak-kalpak is a Kyrgyzstan cap that distinguishes the Kyrgyz from other local ethnic groups while also advocating inclusivity. The headwear has been regarded as a ‘de facto’ national symbol since 2011. Unlike other traditional Kyrgyz clothing, it is still worn by men of all ages in both the city and the mountains. Since 2017, March 5 has been recognized as National Ak-kalpak Day.

History of Kyrgyzstan National Hat Day

It’s uncertain when and where hats first appeared, but some of the earliest drawings date from 3200 B.C. in Ancient Egypt. During the Middle Ages, hats were a status symbol and were utilized to target specific demographics. The Fourth Lateran Council commanded that Jews wear distinctive hats and other apparel to identify themselves in 1215. Before the 19th century, women wore handkerchiefs or loose bonnets. In the first half of the 1800s, these bonnets grew larger and more decorative, with numerous ornamentation. Around the turn of the century, more ladies’ fashions emerged.

Throughout the 1960s, hats were a regular and expected part of men’s fashion.
Men’s hats, such as the ‘Ak-kalpak’— a traditional Kyrgyz male hat — are both fashionable and culturally significant. Kyrgyzstan, formally the Kyrgyz Republic, is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia where the Kyrgyz live. Its history includes many different cultures and empires.

Despite its physical isolation due to its highly mountainous terrain, Kyrgyzstan has been at the crossroads of numerous great civilizations as part of the Silk Road and other commercial routes. Kyrgyzstan has been dominated by a succession of tribes and clans, with greater dominance occurring on several occasions. The Ak-Kalpak, a cultural cap, is contested by men. In 2019, this hat was included in the list of humanity’s intangible cultural treasures.

Kyrgyzstan National Hat Day timeline

3200 B.C.
First Appearance of Hats

Hats first appear in the earliest drawings dating from 3200 B.C. in Ancient Egypt.

1960s
Men's Fashion

Throughout the 1960s, hats are a regular and expected part of men's fashion.

2011
A De-facto Symbol

The Al-kalpak is regarded as ‘a de facto’ national symbol.

2019
Intangible Cultural Heritage Recognition

The Kyrgyzstan hat is added to the representative list of humanity's intangible cultural heritage.

Kyrgyzstan National Hat Day FAQs

What is Kyrgyzstan's climate like?

Kyrgyzstan’s weather is mainly bright, with an average of 70 days of rain each year.

What is the official language of Kyrgyzstan?

Russian and Kyrgyz.

Is Kyrgyzstan considered developed?

It has a medium level of human development.

Kyrgyzstan National Hat Day Activities

  1. Share facts about Kyrgyzstan

    Share interesting facts and information about Kyrgyzstan National Hat Day with your friends, family, and coworkers. To assist you, research facts about Kyrgyzstan online.

  2. Buy an Al-kalpak

    Hats are traditionally worn by males in Kyrgyzstan. If you're a lady, you may still participate in the festivities by purchasing this hat for a male friend.

  3. Make an Al-kalpak

    Learn about the history of the Al-kalpak and try your hand at building one. Take images of the hat and share them on social media with the hashtag #NationalKyrgyztanHatDay.

5 Interesting Facts About The Al-Kalpak

  1. Shiba Inu wears an Al-kalpak

    A Shiba Inu — a Japanese dog breed — wore a kalpak at a Bishkek dog exhibition in December 2017.

  2. 100% wool

    Kalpaks must be constructed entirely of natural felt manufactured from 100% wool.

  3. Al-kalpaks must be treated with respect

    According to Kyrgyz tradition, the kalpak must be treated with respect, it shouldn't be placed on the ground or near someone's feet.

  4. Three meter high Al-kapak

    A group of Kyrgyz students built a three-meter-high kalpak during Kalpak Day celebrations in central Bishkek in 2016.

  5. World's longest poem

    “The Epic of Manas,” written in Kyrgyzstan, is the world's longest poem, with 500,000 lines.

Why We Love Kyrgyzstan National Hat Day

  1. It's like the Swiss Alps

    Kyrgyzstan is very stunning. It is regarded as Central Asia's Swiss Alps. with its steep summits, alpine vegetation, and greenery.

  2. It is home to many lakes

    In Kyrgyzstan, there are around 2,000 lakes fed by glaciers, which explains why they are so green and blue. The famous Issyk-Kul is one of the few places in this landlocked country where you may have a 'beach' vacation.

  3. It has a diverse cultural heritage

    Kyrgyzstan is an ideal tourist destination, with its stunning scenery and lakes. It has a long and illustrious cultural history. One of the physical manifestations of its tradition and culture is the Al-kalpak.

Kyrgyzstan National Hat Day dates

YearDateDay
2023March 5Sunday
2024March 5Tuesday
2025March 5Wednesday
2026March 5Thursday
2027March 5Friday

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