Uzbek maidens and little girls are known worldwide for their traditional hairdo with multiple braids. Such braids are very handy when you’re doing chores and they keep your hair cleaner and tidier than wearing it loose. Plus, mothers don’t have to style their daughters’ hair every morning, which requires a lot of time. But this hairdo might seem a bit too simple and plain for a special occasion, so Uzbek young women add a cute and festive-looking hair accessory called “sochpopuk”. What is it?
A sochpopuk is an Uzbek hair ornament that looks like multiple tassels attached to the braids. This hair adornment can be made from cotton threads (this plant is grown in Uzbekistan industrially), silk threads, pussy willow branches, and adorned with beads, tassels, silver pendants, yarn toys, etc at the ends.
Pretty sochpopuk with colorful beading at the ends
A sochpopuk makes each braid look thicker and decorates the ends adding a festive vibe to the appearance. Uzbek women usually have dark or even black hair, so they don’t have to pick the color of threads. It’s typically very dark brown or black. And the embellishments are always bright and colorful. More expensive sochpopuks can be decorated with silver threads and pendants, coral beads, and semi-precious stones, while simpler and cheaper accessories are adorned with colorful yarn, glass beads, decorative elements created from seed beads, sequins, and other available materials.
Uzbek girl wearing sochpopuk on her braids and skull-cap
This hair adornment, paired with a traditional colorful Uzbek skull-cap, looks beautiful. In some cases, the artificial plaits or tassels can even be attached to a skull-cap so that a girl put the cap on over her native hair styled anyhow and looked like she’s wearing a traditional hairdo. But mostly, the tassels are attached to a strip of fabric and are interwoven into the native hair to add more volume.
These folk performers wear Uzbek traditional costumes with headdresses that have artificial braids attached to them. Skull-caps with a sochpopuk attached look pretty much the same
A sochpopuk was extremely popular in many regions of Uzbekistan in the 19th-20th century. Although today, it’s mostly worn only with a national costume to complement and finish the look. Uzbek folk dancers and singers often use this hair accessory. Also, it’s important to mention that a sochpopuk was traditionally used only by unmarried girls. Married women always covered their hair and you didn’t see them wearing braids.