Each alkar puts on the old traditional costume in the most beautiful splendour. The Alka uniform is a lavishly decorated costume which used to be worn by the higher social class.
The uniform consists of a baize dolman and trousers, a silk girdle, an embroidered waistcoat and a shirt with filigree cufflinks. On his head is a marten-fur busby (“kalpak”) decorated with a plume (“čelenka”) of crane or heron’s feathers, a sabre hangs at his thigh, in his hand a spear, on his feet black leather boots with spurs decorated with silver or gild galloons at the top.
Every year, before the Alka Tournament starts, strenuous exercises in riding and shooting a spear are being held. There are another two tournaments, the Bara and the Čoja Tournament, held ahead of the Alka. They provoke great interest in the Cetina region. In the past the winner of the Bara gained right to mow the state meadow, the so called “bara” (bara = swamp, meadow), for his cattle. The winner of the Čoja would get a big piece of baize (čoja=baize), a high class cloth for tailoring garments. But, in contrast to the Alka, the contestants of the Bara and the Čoja wear civil clothes (riding trousers, boots and short sleeved white shirt). Both in the Bara and the Čoja tournaments the ceremony is the same as in the Alka, except that Duke does not deliver his ceremonial speech. The Alka Tournament includes a minimum of 11 and a maximum of 17 alkars the spearmen, including the “alajčauš” (commander).
In the past alkars would wear the so called “peturin” instead of a shirt, a white cotton plastron covering only the chest. In recent times it has been replaced by a long sleeved shirt. The waistcoat is made of fabric ornamented with patterns of branches and flowers. The girdle is made of silk, and at the thigh there is a sabre (“ćorda”). No one can fit up the alkar so well for the knightly tournament as his mother, sister or wife. Generally, the women of the alkar’s home create a special aureole about the knight who, ceremonially dressed and armed, leaves on horseback from the yard of his home.
The alkar, watched by the members of the household and usually followed by curious youngsters, slowly rides along the streets of Sinj going towards the Alka Halls. There he will have the last check of his outfit and weapons before the tournament starts. Everyone can be excluded from the parade on that last inspection. The Alka standard bearer, who does not take part in the contest, accompanied by two to six companions on horseback with drawn sabres, carries the flag of the Alka Knights Society with the image of Our Lady of Sinj.
Alkars are large, square-shouldered fellows who like to grow moustaches as a symbol of masculinity and connections with their great-grandfathers and historical heroes who defended their town in 1715. The alkar holds a spear in his right hand while running on horseback, but when he approaches the target to about twenty meters, he directs it towards the alka.
Alka spear is made of wood with a 20cm long iron point at the top. The spear is about 290-300cm long, 32,9mm in diameter. It is grey in colour.