Now, I know that the Christmas tree has pagan roots. Santa does too. So I thought, let’s look a little deeper into this strange phenomena some folks have named, the ‘Easter Bonnet.’
In my search, I’ve found that an Easter bonnet may be hard to spot. Yes, there are many with frills or leaves or even little duckies and rabbits on them. These Easter bonnets are easier to be sure about, because they’re clearly associated with Easter, but looks can be deceiving. Some Easter bonnets are made of cloth, others straw. There may be doily patterns in them or even a flower or sash. Some may be plain and have no decorations at all. It can get confusing, but remember, there is one rule and one rule only. If it’s worn on Easter, it’s an Easter Bonnet.
There’s also something else you need to know about the Easter bonnet. It’s a fairly new tradition. I couldn’t find a thing about them in any scriptures. Shakespeare made an insulting jest in Romeo and Juliet about Benvolio wearing his new Easter clothing out early, and that was in the 16th century. But no bonnets!
We all know that many families dress nicely for the Sunday service. And, it only makes sense that on maybe the holiest of Sunday services, a person might want to dress even fancier than the run-of-the-mill Sunday. In fact, this was a thing. People would buy nice clothes, celebrating the newness of spring, and wait until Easter to wear them, kind of like kids not being able to wear their new school clothes until the first day in September. In this respect, Easter suits, dresses, and yes, even bonnets became a status symbol. It was just another way to show privilege and dominance.
Back to the bonnets though. These came into popularity in New York City, and it seems that the history of the ‘Easter Bonnet Parade’ is intertwined with this story. It was in the late 1800s, at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Ave, where several women were wearing hats at the Easter service. The next year there were more, and before long, it became so many, the crowd of churchgoers would walk down 5th avenue showing off all of their fancy hats! At the peak of this tradition, in the 1940s, it was estimated that a million people were participating, or in attendance, at the Easter Bonnet Parade!
Not sure that bonnets have much to do with the resurrection. But, if you do an image search on Easter bonnets, you’ll definitely see some weird shit!
As always, thanks for reading!