Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Faluche

A faluche is a traditional cap worn by students in France. It is a black velvet beret, decorated with colored ribbons and badges.
Several student groups wear the faluche, especially bitards, basochards, and faluchards. Previously, the faluche was associated almost exclusively with faluchards, although other folklore exists concerning the faluche.
Following demonstrations in 1884, the student association Association générale des étudiants of Paris ("A") was formed. On June 12, 1888, the Parisian students were invited to celebrate the 800th anniversary at the University of Bologna in Italy. At the celebration, the French students reportedly felt somewhat drab in comparison to the other students. The attire of the French delegation involved simply dark clothing brightened by one rosette in a buttonhole, and a ribbon in saltire with the colors of the town of Paris. Other European students, by contrast, had a wide variety of costumes and hairstyles: the Belgian students from secular schools had pennes, and those from Catholic schools had callotes; the Spaniards were bedecked with ribbons which proclaimed membership in specific universities; the Germans had their own caps; the Swiss had their thin kepis with small visors; the Italians wore a Louis XI-style hat, and others.
The French students thus decided to create a specific style of cap for themselves. They chose the black velvet beret of the inhabitants of the Bologna area, in remembrance of the students' congress in Bologna, which they fondly remembered.
On June 25, 1888, the date of the French students' return to Paris, that the faluche was really launched. Its popularity spread at the 600th anniversary of the University of Montpellier which took place May 22–25, 1890. From there, the tradition rapidly spread to other cities, with badges and ribbons added later.
The symbols used, initially transmitted orally, varied by university. This is why a synthesis was made in Lille on March 8, 1986, inspired by the Toulouse code. It was adopted as a national code in December 1986 in Toulouse, and it was at this time that the concept of Grand Master began. Then in 1988, at the time of the centenary of Faluche in Reims, a new more complete code was published, taking into account the Montpellier characteristics.
At the time of the German occupation during World War II, the wearing of the faluche was forbidden, except for the day of Saint Nicholas.
In 1988 the 100th anniversary of the faluche was celebrated in Reims, which has continued annually, in a different city each year.

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