15 Traditional Hats From Different Countries with Meanings

  • UPDATED Oct 01, 2018

Hat styles have been an integral part of most civilizations across the world and have delineated their character through headgear, one that makes the most impact on the outsiders who perceive it.

With each hat or head cover holding its own unique characteristic, it would be a nice idea to explore various hat styles across the world. Let us know more about 15 Traditional Hats From Different Countries in the World.

1. Akubra/Aussie bush hat- Australia

Image Source: bbc.com

Incorporated in 1912, Akubra is an essential part of Australia's history. Always at the forefront, Akubra adorns the heads of state & royalty, film & sporting personalities and particularly people of the land. It might look similar to Cowboy hat but is not! Prince William had worn an Akubra on a 2011 trip to Australia. Synonymous with the culture and landscape of Australia, they are the signifiers of Australian tradition.

Fact: A real felt fur Akubra is waterproof and very much comfortable in the hot sun.

2. Fez - Hat of Middle East

A Fez is a cylindrical felt hat dating from 17th Century Turkey. The best way to wear it is to actually be Turkish, Cypriot or North African, when it looks dignified and appropriate.

History: About 980 AD, the hajj was interrupted, and the pilgrimages of those living west of the Nile were directed to Fez as to the Holy City. A Moor in Fez supplied a new style of headdress that started to be widely used by the students of a particular school. The Moorish Fez became a mark of intelligence, and came to worn all along the northern shores of what today they call Africa. The Fez meant that you claimed your bloodline, and that you were a high evolved person. The original form is still worn in Tunisia, Tripoli and Morocco tassels.

3. Tam Hat - Scotland

Image Source: Flickr.com

This hat style is a name given to the traditional Scottish bonnet worn by men. This headdress derives its name from Tam o' Shanter, the eponymous hero of the 1790 Robert Burns poem. Similar in form to the various types of flat bonnet common in northwestern Europe during the 16th century, the Scottish bonnet or tam o' shanter is distinguished by the woolen ball or toorie decorating the centre of the crown. Of course it is now considered a hipster hat style and people sport with a lot of panache.

Fact: The velvet academic tam worn with a tassel is part of the ceremonial dress used at many universities to distinguish those holding a doctoral degree (e.g. Ph.D, Ed.D) from those holding other academic degrees. 

4. Ayam - South Korea

An Ayam is a Korean traditional winter cap mainly worn by women for protection against the cold in the Joseon period (1392-1910). It is also called Aegeom which literally means ‘covering a forehead’ in Korean.

Fact: Some Ayam worn by kisaeng were very luxuriously adorned with big and sumptuous jewels, such as jade, amber, or orpiment, on the tassels of both sides.

5. Turban - India

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Although wearing Turban might come across as a tedious activity, wearing it is an essential part of Sikhism in India. More than of a style statement or a fashion emblem, its usage is completely religious.  

History: The turban, since ancient times, has been of significant importance in Punjab, the land of the five rivers and the birthplace of Sikhism. There was a time when only kings, royalty, and those of high stature wore turbans. Two people would trade their turbans to show love or friendship towards each other.

6. Conical Asian hat - Asia

The conical Asian hat also known as the sedge hat, rice hat, paddy hat or coolie hat is a simple style of conical hat originating in East and Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Japan and Korea.

Fact: Because of its distinctive shape, it is often used in the depiction of East Asians. In mainland China and Taiwan, it is called dǒu l. In Japan, the hat is called sugegasa. In Korea, it is called sasgas, mostly worn by Buddhist monks; in Vietnam, the name is Nuten lá (leaf hat). The conical hat varieties in Vietnam are notable for their romantic and timelessly crafted adornments. 

7. Fedora - USA Illinios

This short-brimmed headgear has come to be associated with many a movements including the first wave of feminism, militant atheism, libertarian politics, and the men's rights movement.

Fact: Although more famous for its political association, Fedora hat was but a common headpiece whose main purpose was keeping sun and rain off the wearer's head in a visually pleasing fashion.

8. Ushanka - Russia

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Of all the symbols of Russian apparel, none is more prominent than the Ushanka hat. Instantly recognizable, this extremely comfortable and warm winter hat style has become a fashion icon as of late. When most people think of Russia, the classic ushanka hat is one of the first things that come to mind.

Fact: The Russian word "ushanka” literally translates into English as "ear hat”. This style of hat has been around for many years to get people through the harsh Russian winters. In fact, people in the northern regions of Eastern Europe also wore similar hats dating all the way back to the 1600’s. 

9. Bowler - England

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

An icon long associated with the City of London, the unmistakable vintage hat style -bowler hat was an essential part of every City worker’s uniform. 

Trivia: When the prototype ‘Bowler’ hat was invented, Mr. Coke came to check it out. He showed up in London on the 17th of December, 1849 and headed to Lock & Co’s shop to examine his new hat. Remembering that he had asked for a particularly durable creation, Mr. Coke threw the hat on the ground and jumped on it twice to check its strength. When the hat remained in shape, Coke proclaimed his satisfaction at this new invention and paid twelve shillings for the hat.

10. Newsboy Cap - Ireland

This cap grew in popularity at the turn of the 20th century and was at the time standard boys' wear. They were worn to school, for casual wear, and with suits. Flat caps were almost always worn with knicker suits in the 1910s and 20s.

History: A 1571 Act of Parliament to stimulate domestic wool consumption and general trade decreed that on Sundays and holidays, all males over 6 years of age, except for the nobility and "persons of degree", were to wear woollen caps on pain of a fine of three farthings (3/4 penny) per day.

11.  Rogatywka - Poland

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The caps sported by military officers around the world inevitably command respect, but the Poles perfected the look with this square effort.

Fact: Although rogatywka (derived from rutegwhich means horn or corner) in English seems to mean the same as czapka, the word 'czapka' in Polish designates not only rogatywka, but all caps (not hats).

12. Karakul - Afghanistan

Image Source: telegraf.mk

Known as a karakul hat, and made of the pelt of fetal or newborn lambs of the karakul breed of sheep, traditionally it was something worn by Tajiks and Uzbeks from northern Afghanistan. When Mr. Karzai, a Pashtun from the turban-wearing south, took office in 2002, the karakul hat was part of his attempt to devise a wardrobe that was Afghan rather than ethnic or regional.

Fact: This cap is also called as the Jinnah cap as Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan used to don it.

13. Greek fisherman's cap - Greece

Image Source: Wikipedia.org

From the ports of Corfu, Greece, to towns with a strong Greek heritage like Tarpon Springs, Florida, this classic fisherman’s hat has been popular since the late 19th century. Now worn around the globe, its old-world feel evokes the lure of the sea no matter how far from the ocean you may be.

Trivia: During the Beatles' first tour of the United States in 1964, John Lennon wore a black fisherman's cap which quickly became popularly known as a "John Lennon Hat."

14. Gaucho Hat -Argentina

A gaucho hat is one of the Gaucho clothing items that are most commonly associated with the typical South American gaucho. There is a distinctive physical appearance that many people identify with traditional gauchos and it includes a specific style of hat, saddle, boots, pants, shirt and head covering.

Trivia: Although the term has been used as a reference for those who live in the country's grasslands, pampas and chacos regions most people instantly think of the iconic Spanish cowboy when they hear this word being spoken.

15. Beret - France

The stylish and iconic French "Beret”. A soft, round cap that is flat at the crown and typically made of hand woven knitted wool or wool felt. This hat is quite classic and versatile.

History:  Head adornment similar to the modern beret is said to have been worn since the Bronze Age across Northern Eurpoe, including ancient Crete and Italy. The Greeks are said to have first worn the assemblage of the beret. The Romans borrowed the adornment of this cap, calling it the "Beretino”. Interestingly, it was the Romans who are said to have classified the berets by color, creating a distinction between aristocrats and commoners.

So which is the most impressive cap for you? Let us know.

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