is for vanities
I’m going to guess this isn’t what you think it is. Vanities is a 15th century terms for hats, and it’s hats I want to celebrate today in my gratitude abecedarium.
Today is St. Catherine’s Day. And while the day was originally designated to commemorate the martyrdom of Catherine of Alexandria, it is one of those observations that has morphed in an interesting way.
This festival has been celebrated (originally in France) since the 14th century. With Catherine of Alexandria considered the patron saint of hat makers (and originally all young girls), this day is traditionally considered a celebration for unmarried women, under the age of 25. The original premise of the custom is somewhat appalling from this side of the timeline. Unmarried women would pray for husbands on St. Catherine’s Day, and the day was also to honor and pray for those who’d reached the age of 25 but hadn’t married. Those women were called Catherinettes, and St. Catherine was asked to intercede in finding husbands so spinsterhood could be avoided. Eventually the custom grew to these Catherinettes attending a ball on St. Catherine’s Day bedecked in specially designed hats for the occasion. And nowadays milliner groups often celebrate the day with shows and “walks of the Catherinettes” which are fashion shows of fabulous hats.
And being a hat lover and the daughter of a milliner this is the part I love. A day that celebrates hats!
While you may not be a hat wearer yourself, or even worse, consider it a useless custom relegated to the ages long past, let me try to persuade you otherwise.
Seriously, how can you not want to wear a hat that is covered in pomegranates? I bet Persephone would wear just such a chapeau when she was topside just to remind everyone that she was now also sovereign Queen of the Underworld for half the year.
Of course I love paper too, so what about some paper hats? Check out these amazing creations made by Mary Arantes from newspaper. And be sure to read about who created them – it’s a feel-good story for sure.
Verena Sieber-Fuchs is another artist and here are some of her hat creations.
And you have to check out these creations by paper artist Stuart McLachlan. Allegedly hats for children, I say ha to that – I totally want them all for myself.
I would be remiss in any talk about hats if I didn’t point you in the direction of Jean Hicks of Erratic Hats. Watch the slideshow and if you don’t find something swoon-worthy well then it’s official, you really aren’t a hat person.
And finally here’s a blog post by photographer Pamela Hale mentioning a hat-centric photo exhibit/party. Sounds marvelous to me.
In keeping with my ongoing selfie-a-day project, this week I’ll be taking photos wearing hats. Here’s today’s shot.
What about you? Are you a hat person? Think chapeaux are vanities or gifts from Venus? Have a hat tale to share? What’s been your crowing gratitude for today? Do tell – you know I love to hear.