Pakol (پکول), or the Afghan cap or Pashtun cap, is a soft, round-topped men's hat, typically of wool and found in any of a variety of earthy colors: brown, black, gray, or ivory, or dyed red using walnut. Before it is put on, it resembles a bag with a round, flat bottom. The wearer rolls up the sides nearly to the top, forming a thick band, which then rests on the head like a beret or cap. It is seen as a hat of all ethnic groups of Afghanistan. The Afghan military leader Ahmad Shah Massoud is often shown in photographs wearing a pakol.
Pakol's ancestor is perhaps the remarkably similar ancient Macedonian kausia hat, worn by men in ancient Southeast Europe. It gained popularity in Nurestan a few centuries ago. In the recent two decades it gain popularity in Pashtuns where it become their culture along with casket particularly in winter.
The patti is first sewn into the shape of a cylinder, about a foot or more long. One end of the cylinder is capped with a round piece of the same material, slightly wider than the cylinder itself. The woollen cylinder is then inverted and fitted onto a round wooden block. The rim of the woollen cylinder is then rolled up to the top. The flat top protrudes a little over the rolled-up edge to give the cap a tiny brim. Otherwise, all Afghan head wear, unlike Western hats, is brimless. This is because Muslims pray with their heads covered. A brimmed hat would interfere with the sajdah (act of prostration during prayers). The little brim of the pakol, however, presents no such problem.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, the white color pakol is more popular and is sometimes worn with a peacock plume stuck in the folds, like a badge, on the front or the side of the cap. The deep blue and green of the peacock feather, set against the white of the cap, is quite eye catching.
Because of the woolen material, the pakol is basically a cold weather cap. In particularly chilly weather of Nuristan, the cap can be unrolled and pulled down over the ears, like a ski cap. Worn this way, it may look sloppy but is effective against the cold.
- "Terrorism, power outages hit Chitrali Patti business hard". International The News. October 23, 2010. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- Ian Worthington, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Ventures into Greek history, p. 135, Clarendon Press, 1994
- Willem Vogelsang, 'The Pakol: A distinctive, but apparently not so very old headgear from the Indo-Iranian borderlands'. Khil`a. Journal for Dress and Textiles of the Islamic World, Vol. 2, 2006, pp. 149–155.
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