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History Behind Serbian Traditional Hat and How it Got Its Name Šajkača

Where does it come from?

Image © Aktron / wikimedia

Šajkača is a Serbian national (originally a military) cap worn by people from Serbia even now in daily life. Material “Šajak” is made from wool and is comfortable to wear in summer and winter because it keeps a constant temperature of the head. In winter, the side of the hat can be brought down to the ears. The cap is easy to bend and so it can be worn under the belt or attached wherever the owner feels comfortable. It is usually olive-gray in color, which reminds us of the military, but it can be made in other colors like blue or navy blue.

The hat still didn’t get it’s name by the material that it is made from. The hat and its name came from the the Serbian frontiersmen in Šajkaška. Name Šajkaška (meaning: Šajkaš lands) kept the memory of the Serbian warriors-boatmen in the service of the Austrian Empire from the Serbian region of Banat during the 18th century. These military were called šajkaši. They operated on the Danube, Tisa, Sava and Moriš rivers and guarded borders against the Ottoman Empire. They wore caps in the shape of an overturned boat chaika.

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A chaika (Serbian: Шајка / Šajka,) was a wooden boat / Source: cerkin.org

There are no reliable data about how the Serbs from Šajkaš called their cap, but the caps that they wore were introduced as a part of the official uniforms of the Army of the Principality of Serbia. Šajkača, i.e. the soldiers’ hat, was introduced by the regulation from 1870.

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Photo: Шајкашки батаљон / youtube

It became widely worn by Serb men during the First Serbian Uprising and was a key component in the uniform of the Serbian military from the beginning of the 19th century until the end of the 20th century. But not to be confused beetwen military and regular peasant šajkača. Peasant šajkača doesn’t have cocarde on which indiferente them from military, paramilitary or chetnik šajkača.

Today, Šajkača is mostly worn by elderly men in rural communities…

http://i461.photobucket.com/albums/qq338/Kulturna-bastina-Srbije/Ostalo/SasajkacomSumadija1a.jpg
Source: www.riznicasrpska.net

and folklor groups.

http://leskovackevesti.rs/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/srpski-folklor-sumadija.jpg
Source: http://leskovackevesti.rs

How Šajkaši guarded borders of Austrian empire:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPtrXWMutms&w=854&h=480]

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