Monday, October 18, 2010

International Day of the Cravat

The 18th of October is the International Day of The Cravat. In some languages the tie is still called cravat. E.g. in German Krawatte and in French cravate, so let us look at the history behind it.

Croatia is often considered as the mother country of the modern necktie. At the time of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) Croatian mercenaries in French service wore their traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs as part of their uniform. The (probably) oldest portrait of someone wearing a cravat was painted in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik. The poet, Ivan Dživo Gundulić, on a portrait dating from 1622 is wearing a scarf around his neck, tied like a cravat. The new article of clothing started a fashion craze in Europe. It was „à la croate“ they said in French - or so the story goes. The word cravat seems however to have been around in both French and Italian as far back as the fourteenth century (with a pronunciation resembling cravat or croate). All in all it seems more than plausible that the word "cravat" comes from the French cravate, and that this is a corruption of"Croat" — Croatian "Hrvat".
Thanks to Ole Nielsen

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