ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - With soccer on their minds, many fans from around the globe at the World Cup in Russia have tried something new on their heads: a traditional Russian headdress known as “kokoshnik”.
Russian female soccer fans have worn the headdress, which resembles a tiara, with team jerseys and traditional costume at matches and fan zones to show their allegiance. Some men have taken a liking to the headdress, too.
They had their moment of fame when three fans became internet stars after being shown on national television while wearing the traditional headdress. Wearing kokoshniki, the fans ate hot dogs in the stands during Russia’s round of 16 match against Spain at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium.
“I really want to support (the team) by wearing a kokoshnik,” said Russian fan Kermen Mandzhiyeva as she tried on the headdress. “It should bring them luck. I believe it!”
Russia play Croatia for a place in the semi-finals later on Saturday.
However, foreign fans have not necessarily worn the kokoshniki to support their team but have adopted the headdress as a fashion accessory.
“It’s beautiful,” said one Brazilian fan in the St Petersburg fan zone. “They are very colourful. They are very nice. And they look very good on me.”
Kokoshniki have been among the souvenirs World Cup fans have been purchasing in Russia, one designer said.
“This is a part of our culture that a tourist can take away with him,” said Tatyana Dombrovskaya, who designs the headdresses.
Traditionally worn by married women in the pre-Soviet era, kokoshniki are now often worn by members of folk dance groups.
Russia is hosting the soccer World Cup in 11 cities including Moscow, St Petersburg and Sochi. The final of the tournament will take place on July 15.
Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alison Williams