Support independent journalism in Central & Eastern Europe.
Donate to TOL!
The new holiday reveals patriotic sentiments in a country where national traditions are on the upswing.6 March 2018
Typically made of white felt, the hat symbolizes “the peaks of the magnificent Kyrgyz mountains, forever snow-capped,” Topchubek Turgunaliyev, former adviser to the Kyrgyz president, told AFP.
But the festivities this year were overshadowed by a scandal. At a dog show in December, a young woman put a kalpak on her dog, causing an uproar on social media and cries of indignation from patriotic politicians and celebrities, according to RFE/RL.
“Tomorrow a pig will wear a kalpak and the national flag will be used as cat litter,” said Ryskeldi Mombekov, parliamentarian for the ruling Social Democratic Party.
In a reaction to the dog scandal, lawmakers have proposed legislation to protect the status of the national headgear. If the legislation is adopted, the kalpak will become an official state symbol, on equal footing with the national anthem and the national flag, Eurasianet.org reports.
The new law would also require state officials, including the president and his ministers, to wear the kalpak when on official duty.
Since the popular uprising in 2010 which evicted then-President Kurmanbek Bakiev from office, Kyrgyz nationalism has become more assertive, AFP reported in December. That same year, hundreds of ethnic Uzbeks died when communal violence broke out in southern Kyrgyzstan, where the Uzbek minority is concentrated.
In 2011, seven sheep were ritually slaughtered by lawmakers in parliament to exorcise the evil spirits of Kyrgyzstan’s troubled past.
Parliament voted last June to make 5 March an official day of the kalpak and other national dress.
Summer journalism program: Going on Assignment in Prague: Practical training by respected journalists and media professionals. Not yet decided whether to join us for our July 2018 course? Don't hesitate! Apply or check our website for more info
The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.
This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes.
It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.