The Easter bonnet has long been a tradition when it comes to the bank holiday weekend. Long have people seen the long weekend as an opportunity to dress up, and nothing completes a look better than a bonnet.
It’s been a part of our Easter tradition for generations, whether it be simply buying a new hat to visit church or a party, or getting creative and putting together a special, Easter themed hat. Today, Easter bonnets are more of an arts and craft activity and such is their prominence they are even considered one of the most common things associated with the festivities, up there with eating chocolate eggs and hot cross buns. In fact, a recent limited edition bingo card from Moon Bingo placed Easter bonnets almost front and centre such is the love for them.
The Easter bonnet itself is very much a European tradition, although has since spread right across the world, in Christian countries anyway. The origins and reason for the hat began as a way to celebrate the incoming of Spring, dropping the winter clothes for lighter, fresher outfits, with Easter generally marking that move into the season.
The very first bonnets were made up of leaves and flowers that represented the seasons, and would be worn to all special events and church meetings over the period. However, it took many years for the tradition to be adopted globally and it wasn’t until after the Civil War in the USA when it really came to the fore, largely thanks to an Irving Berlin song entitled Easter Parade. The film, which followed the song a year later in the 1940s really cemented the bonnet in American culture and by the end of the decade millions of people were taking part in Easter bonnet competitions.
That Hollywood recognition pushed the Easter bonnet into the mainstream globally and ever since it has been a popular activity and one that is ever evolving. Today you’ll find plenty of competitions as part of big brands marketing activities and themes that go way beyond things that reflect the seasons, with the likes of TV, film, and many other areas of popular culture all featuring on the traditional Easter bonnet. And that’s the same with parades as the bonnets featured in parades become more and more extravagant with beaming lights, all manner of sparkles, and the latest fashions.