Kyrgyz Hat (Ak Kalpak)
The Kalpak, properly called the “Ak Kalpak” (white Kalpak) is a Kyrgyz tradional hat. It is worn by males of all ages especially in rural Kyrgyzstan, and is a symbol of the nation. Even if it looks a little strange to western eyes, this headgear is also a practical item of clothing keeping the head warm in winter and protecting from the heat in the summer. White, light wool keeps the head warm in wintertime as well as reflect sunrays in hot summers. Very hydroscopic fabric makes it possible to wear Kalpak all round the year even in hottest or chilling cold days. In outward appearance Kalpak reminds pyramidal shape of the Tien-Shan Mountains. Kalpak might be folded down by the surface of triangle and almost do not require any space. This ancient style of hat seems to connect the man wearing it with the history of his forefathers and observe the very strict rules related to it such as never put your Kalpak on the ground; at night, the Kalpaks is kept next to your head, never by your feet. There are also many sayings connected with this headgear “you lose your kalpak - you lose your head”; “don’t trade your kalpak or you’ll trade your mind”; “wear a kalpak and you won’t get sick, it is warm in winter, cool in summer ”; A kalpak is often given as presents at a ‘toi’, (or family celebration), either from the guests to the host, or from the host to guests of honor.