The word papakha itself is of Turkic origin; in Vasmer's dictionary it is specified that it is Azerbaijani. The literal translation is a cap. In Russia, the word papakha took root only in the 19th century; before that, hats of a similar cut were called hoods. During the Caucasian Wars, the word papakha also migrated to the Russian language, but at the same time, other names derived from ethnonyms were also used in relation to the high fur hat. The Kabardinka (Kabardian papakha) later became the Kubanka (its difference from the papakha, above all, in height). For a long time, in the Don troops, the papakha was called Trukhmenka.
A hat is not just a hat. Neither in the Caucasus, where she comes from, nor among the Cossacks, a hat is considered an ordinary headdress, whose task is only to keep warm. If you look at the sayings and proverbs about the hat, then you can already understand a lot about its significance. In the Caucasus, they say: "If the head is intact, it should have a hat", "A hat is worn not for warmth, but for honor", "If you have no one to consult with, consult a hat." The Cossacks have a saying that the two most important things for a Cossack are a saber and a hat.
It is allowed to take off the hat only in special cases. Almost never in the Caucasus. You cannot take off the hat when someone is asked for something, the only exception is when they ask for forgiveness of blood feud. The specificity of the hat is that it does not allow you to walk with your head down. It is as if she herself "educates" a person, forcing him "not to bend his back."
Degestan cavalry regiment
In Dagestan there was also a tradition to make an offer with the help of a hat. When a young man wanted to woo, but was afraid to do it openly, he could throw a hat out of the girl's window. If the hat did not fly back for a long time, then the young man could count on a favorable outcome. It was considered a serious insult to knock the hat off the head. If, in the heat of an argument, one of the opponents threw his hat to the ground, it meant that he was ready to stand until his death. It was possible to lose the hat only with the head. That is why valuable things and even jewelry were often worn in hats.
Fun fact: The famous Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov, going to the theater, bought two tickets: one for himself, the other for a hat. Makhmud Esambaev was the only deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR who was allowed to sit in a headdress at meetings. They say that Leonid Brezhnev, looking around the hall before his performance, saw Esambaev's hat and said: "Mahmud is in place, we can start."
Alexander Dumas in a hat
The writer Alexander Dumas (the one who wrote "The Three Musketeers", "The Count of Mon te Cristo", "The Iron Mask" and other famous works), while traveling in the Caucasus, somehow decided to be photographed in a hat. Photography has survived to this day.
Hats are different. They differ both in the type of fur and in the length of the pile. Also, in different shelves, the types of embroidery of the top of the papah differ. Before the First World War, hats were most often sewn from the fur of a bear, a ram and a wolf, these types of fur best of all helped to soften the saber blow .. There were also ceremonial hats. For officers and attendants, they were trimmed with silver galloon 1, 2 centimeters wide.
Since 1915 it was allowed to use gray hats. Donskoe, Astrakhan, Orenburg, Semirechenskoe, Siberian Cossack troops wore hats like a cone with short fur. It was possible to wear hats of any shade, except for white, and during the period of hostilities - black. Hats of bright colors were also banned. For the sergeants, sergeants and cadets, a cross-shaped white tape was sewn on the top of the hat, and for the officers, in addition to the tape, a braid was also sewn on the device.
Don hats - with a red top and a cross embroidered on it, symbolizing the Orthodox faith. In the Kuban Cossacks, the top of the papakha is also scarlet. At Terek's blue. In the Trans-Baikal, Ussuriysk, Ural, Amur Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk units, they wore black hats made of mutton wool, but only with a long pile.
We all know the expression: "Give cuffs". Tumak was a wedge-shaped cap sewn to a papakha, which was common among the Don and Zaporozhye Cossacks in the 16th and 17th centuries. Before the battle, it was customary to put metal plates into the cuff, which protected the Cossack from drafts. In the heat of the battle, when it came to hand-to-hand combat, with a hat with a cuff it was quite possible to fight off, "hit cuffs" to the enemy.
Hat from karakul
The most expensive and honorable hats are considered astrakhan hats, which are also called "Bukhara hats". The word karakul comes from the name of one of the oases located on the Zerashvan River flowing in Uzbekistan. Karakul lamb skins taken a few days after the birth of the lamb were commonly called Karakul. General's hats were made exclusively of astrakhan fur.
After the revolution, restrictions were imposed on the wearing of national clothes for the Cossacks. Hats replaced Budenovka, but already in 1936, hats returned again as an element of clothing. The Cossacks were allowed to wear low black hats. Two stripes were sewn on the cloth in the form of a cross, for officers of gold color, for ordinary Cossacks - black. Of course, a red star was sewn on the front of the caps. Terek, Kuban and Don Cossacks received the right to serve in the Red Army, and there were Cossack troops at the parade in 1937. Since 1940, the hat has become an attribute of the military uniform of the entire top commanding staff of the Red Army, and after Stalin's death, the hat became fashionable among members of the Politburo.