Shepherds’ cloaks

The simplest and oldest form of over garment is the hooded shepherd’s cloak (yamurlok or opandzhak). These were made from woven goats hair or wool or a mixture of wool and goats hair, which was often woven in alternate brown and white rectangles.

These cloaks were worn in winter for outdoor work and by shepherds in mountainous regions and for weddings and festive occasions such as traditional carol singing in winter.

In the central and west Rhodopes, a type of cloak called a kepe was worn by shepherds. Kepe were made of thick woollen fabric, which was usually edged with fringes. Kepe could also be used for bedding by shepherds when in the mountains with their sheep. They could be red or dark red in colour. Similar style white cloaks were worn in the Blagoevgrad area.

Another ancient type of cloak has been preserved in the Arda valley. This cloak was made of striped woven woollen with the weft stripes in black and the warp in various colours. It has buckles attached to two opposite ends so it can be worn as a shawl and either fastened at the back or font.

Around Pomorie a hip length sleeveless waistcoat called a kicha, made of thick black woollen fabric, covered with fringes, was worn over the sukman. White and black outer garments made of boucle (smooth) woollen fabric, similar to the kicha, were worn in Haskovo and Purvomai areas by women and also by men for casual wear.

A waterproof thick cloth of wool and goats hair with a hood designed for throwing over shoulders was called a klašhnik (same name was also used for sleeveless felted waistcoats in northern Bulgaria).

Published on 7th June 2018, last modified on 12th June 2018