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Wednesday, 28 January 2015


During the Crusades Muslims living west of the Nile were unable to make pilgrimages to Mecca so instead they made trips to the Moroccan city of Fez,  which was a notable center of Islam.. At that time a scarlet cylindrical tasselled cap was part of the uniform of one of the great schools there. Pilgrims who often wore similar headgear brought home what became known as the fez.

The conspicuous tassle attached to the top of this brimless headcover, now apparently solely decorative, had a religious significance. It symbolized the lock of hair by which, according to tradition, Allah would pull the faithful into paradise.

In 1826 Sultan Mahmud II of the Ottoman Empire made the fez part of the official dress. Three years later the Sultan ordered his civil officials to wear the plain fez, and also banned the wearing of turbans.The intention was to coerce the populace at large to update to the fez, and the plan was successful..

The 1908 Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina resulted in a boycott of Austrian goods, which became known as the "Fez Boycott" due to the near monopoly the Austrians then held on production of the hat. Although the hat survived, the year-long boycott brought the end of its universality in the Ottoman Empire as other styles became socially acceptable.

The wearing of a fez was banned in Turkey’s modernisation reforms in 1925. It is still illegal to wear one in governmental areas.

Sources  Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999, Daily Mail, Wikipedia

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