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Kashubs - Known for Their Style!

I always found the people of this area to be very conscious about the way they dressed.  I often commented about this to my husband - as in "What, another new tie!"  Recently, when reading about the etymology of the word "Kaszub", I discovered that throughout history the Kaszubs have been known for their style.

19th century
 Kashubian costume

There have been several suggestions on the origin of the word Kashub.  One being that the word Kashub is made up of the root "SZUBA" from the Arabic word "jubbah" and the prefix "KA". "SZUBA" is seen in Persian as jubba, Italian as giubba, French jupe, Russian jubka, old Polish jupka, jupica and szuba. In the Polish of the middle ages "jupka" meant "coat". The prefix "KA", which doesn't exist in contemporary Polish, in the middle ages had a meaning of something big and clumsy, and was used derogatively. Thus the Kaszubs were named for the coats they wore: "Those people in 'THOSE' coats."  As you can see from the attached picture, their coats were really something to look at, and  "ka" must have its roots in green-with-envy language.

According to he chronicler Bogufal, the first known historian to discuss the Kaszubs, as early as the 13th century the Kaszubs were well known for their coats. They wore long wide coats which fell into folds, and he says that the word "Kaszub(i)" derives from kasaj huby, "folded coat", (or kasac huby, "to fold one's dress" - depending on who is the translator).

Later, in the 14th century, Dlugosz (another famous chronicler) wrote that the Kaszubs could easily be distinguished from their German neighbours by the fullness of their long overcoats.

Although, most Kaszubian language historians agree that the Kaszubs were named for the coats they wore, they cannot agree on the style of coat! A more recent Chronicler, Mrongowiusz (1764-1855) claims "Kaszub" as being derived from the word Kosuch, a sheepskin coat.  Bruckner 1856-1939) also relates Kashub to coat, but claims that it is very likely that the word "ka" denoted something "big and clumsy" and "Szuba" was from the name given to a Slavonic fur lined coat with cloth as the outer layer. 

So whichever historian is right or wrong, it looks as though it is safe to say that the Kaszubs were, and still are known for their style.

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