Erbil celebrates historical Iraqi hat from monarchy era

A group of veteran teachers wearing Al-Sidara hats also took a tour around Erbil's bazaar to show people the historical headpiece. 
Erbil resident wearing Al-Sidara hats, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)
Erbil resident wearing Al-Sidara hats, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region's capital Erbil on Tuesday held activities to celebrate the historical Al-Sidara hat as part of a bid to familiarize people in the city with the popular monarchy-era headgear. 

The Erbil Museum and Archives of Education organizes the event annually at the end of December, Omed Barzinji, the museum's director, told Kurdistan 24 on Tuesday. 

The event was inaugurated with a play introducing the hat to the primary school students, Barzinji said. Later on, an art exhibition showed the hat being worn by the city's educational and cultural figures. 

Two students wearing Al-Sidara hats in Erbil, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)
Two students wearing Al-Sidara hats in Erbil, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)

A group of veteran teachers wearing Al-Sidara hats also took a tour around Erbil's bazaar to show people the historical headpiece. 

What is Al-Sidara hat?

Al-Sidara hat was firstly introduced to Iraq during the reign of Iraqi King Faisal I, who attempted to create a 'national symbol' for the different people of the country. The hat was initially called Al Faisaleyah after the monarch, Shad Abdulkarim, the director of Salam Art, wrote in a piece. 

Erbil resident wearing Al-Sidara hats, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)
Erbil resident wearing Al-Sidara hats, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)

The hat was firstly designed and made in England before small factories in Iraq began manufacturing the soon-to-be popular headgear. 

The hat intended to designate the "educated" class of the country and showcase loyalty to the kingdom, Abdulkarim added. 

Erbil resident wearing Al-Sidara hats, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)
Erbil resident wearing Al-Sidara hats, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)

Those wearing the hat were referred to as "Afandi" (nobleman), signifying that they were educated and literate. 

While the hat was first popular among Baghdad's male population, other parts of the country soon adopted it, including Erbil.

Erbil resident wearing Al-Sidara hats, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)
Erbil resident wearing Al-Sidara hats, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)

However, the hat's popularity faded after Faisal's reign as it became seen as a product of British colonialism in Iraq. After a coup in 1936, Hikmat Soleiman's government banned the wearing of Al-Sidara hats. 

Additional reporting conducted by Nawras Abdulla 

Erbil resident wearing Al-Sidara hats, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)
Erbil resident wearing Al-Sidara hats, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo: Hoger Birazhi/Erbil Museum and Archives of Education)