In the field, the military wears inconspicuous camouflage, but for special occasions they have special outfits
Ceremonial uniforms of individual troops can seem not only unusual, but even funny. At the same time, if you dig deeper, it turns out that each element of the uniform carries a certain meaning and has an interesting history.
For example, the guard of honor (evzones) at the grave of the unknown soldier in Athens. The guards of the monument are subject to special requirements regarding appearance and height: they must have a pleasant appearance and be at least 187 centimeters. But even more amazing is their shape. It consists of a short pleated skirt called a fustanella, a white shirt, a red cap with a tassel (it is called a fareon).
On the feet of the marching soldiers are white leggings and special shoes – tsarukha. Each tsaruh can weigh up to 3 kilograms, and they are lined with steel nails so that the sole does not slip. Thanks to this, every step of a soldier is accompanied by a spectacular clatter, and a few centuries ago, wearing tsarukhs, it was possible to conquer any mountain. Huge pom-poms on shoes are also not accidental – before it was possible to hide edged weapons in them.
Such a uniform is made in the sewing workshop of the Presidential Guard. The guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier changes every hour, and every time tourists and locals come to see this spectacle. The change looks very impressive, especially thanks to the special step that the Evzones learn. These soldiers belong to the elite infantry unit of the Greek army.
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The Vatican is a dwarf state, and therefore does not have its own army. The Pope is protected by a mercenary corps of the Swiss Guard, founded more than four centuries ago.
The form of the papal guards is bizarre, but only seems ridiculous. It is divided into front, everyday and working, but more often tourists see the front. The costume consists of striped red-yellow-blue camisoles, trousers caught under the knees, a beret (in especially solemn occasions, the headdress is also decorated with a red plume), and a shell. As weapons there are a halberd and a sword.
It is this image that appears more often in tourist photographs, although the soldiers train, of course, in the usual gray working uniform, and a slightly more ceremonial everyday uniform consists of a blue camisole with a white collar, a black beret and black boots. Wide trousers are tucked into blue leggings.
When they talk about the modern uniform of the guards, Michelangelo Buonarroti is most often mentioned as its creator, but there is no documentary evidence of this; this is probably just a pretty legend.
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< p>The military of the Pacific island nation of Fiji has only 3,500 people, but it is the largest army in all of Oceania! These guys have been involved in four coup d'état in the last 40 years.
< p>The most striking detail of the ceremonial attire of local soldiers, which immediately catches the eye, is the traditional Sulu skirt with an uneven bottom cut into triangles. Enlisted men wear a white sulu, officers wear black with red accents. However, in Fiji, the sulu is generally the dominant item of men's wardrobe. It is worn by officials, police officers, office workers, and schoolchildren.
From above, the soldiers put on a red tunic, and the officers of the guard of honor have a white uniform instead. The coat of arms of the Fiji Armed Forces is depicted on the belt buckle, leather sandals on the feet are also quite traditional local shoes, appropriate in any environment. But the headgear for privates is not provided. Fijians generally rarely cover their heads in public, which is due to the specifics of local etiquette. So, within the village, only the leader wears a hat.
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The Carabinieri are one of the four types of the Italian armed forces, but it is they who are the first to pay attention to visitors. These guys are very smartly dressed, as if they were not engaged in law enforcement, but gathered for some kind of solemn event.
The daily uniform of the Carabinieri is a cap, a snow-white or blue shirt with a tie, a white harness, a bandolier (ammunition bag), boots, trousers with a red stripe, and in some cases a spectacular raincoat. Many confuse the carabinieri with the police, but these are two different structures. The police is a civil structure, while the carabinieri is a military one. And in small towns the latter can be found much more often than in large cities.
Looking at these beauties, it is hard to imagine that in the middle of the century before last, the Thai guards were engaged in … scaring away crows. Yes, yes, it was precisely this service that the Thai soldiers performed – they dispersed the birds, as well as excessively loud merchants who disturbed the peace of the monarch. But this inglorious page in the history of the Thai army quickly turned upside down, and a couple of decades later, the guards accompanied the king on all trips.
The uniform of the Thai guard impresses with a riot of colors: here you have pink, and blue, and bright yellow. You can see it in all its glory at the parade in honor of the king's birthday. On the network you can find a version that the color of the uniform depends on the day of the week, but this is not so. The colors correspond to the type of troops: red and white are the personal bodyguards of the king. In yellow and green uniforms, the guardsmen of the artillery battalion come to the parade. And sky-blue uniforms are worn by the guards of the air force academy of Thailand. They are also called “guardians of the air”.
As for the fancy high headdresses, this is a heritage of the British, but due to the hot climate, feathers are used instead of fur in Thailand.
DPRKAgainst the background of all of the above, the female soldier's uniform from North Korea looks modest. In 2015, for Korean women who have reached the age of majority, military service became mandatory. Today, more than 40% of North Korean women aged 18 to 25 wear military uniforms.
Indian full dress military uniform leaves a feeling of carnival. The most interesting thing is that there are no uniform regulations here, since the country is huge, and the specifics of the form vary from state to state.
Border guards look the most beautiful of all, especially their hats topped with fancy crests. And many more tourists specially come to the town of Amritsar, and from there go to the village of Wagah, where the checkpoint between India and Pakistan is located.
It is here that, since 1959, the so-called Dawn Ceremony has been held – the changing of the guard before sunset. It looks extremely unusual, and the chic uniforms of Indians and Pakistanis can be seen in detail.
Photo: Getty Images
Material published in December 2019, partially updated in February 2023