National Hat Day Date in the current year: January 15, 2024

National Hat Day Hats don’t just keep us warm and protect from the elements; wearing a particular hat can be a reflection of someones personality, or indicate a person’s occupation, cultural or religious adherence, or alignment of with a subculture or social group. National Hat Day is observed annually on January 15 to celebrate hats and what they means to us.

Hats have been around for thousands of years. People originally wore them for protection against weather conditions, but eventually hats started to be worn for a variety of reasons. In the past, hats used to indicate social status, marking the distinction between classes, as well as reflect gender norms.

In the military, hats may denote branch of service, rank, or regiment. In many countries, berets in specific colors are associated with elite units; for example, the maroon beret has been associated with airborne forces since World War II. Bearskin caps are worn by grenadier and guards regiments in various armies as part of their ceremonial uniform, as well as by drum majors in many military bands.

People can wear hats for cultural or religious reasons (there are religions that require people to cover their heads while praying or at all times), for ceremonial occasions such as graduation, as protective gear (helmets for sports, recreational activities, dangerous work activities, and transportation), and as fashion accessories. A hat can also indicate a person’s occupation such as a police officer or a chef. Some people wear hats to show that they belong to a certain social group of subculture. For instance, sports fans often wear team-branded hats, typically baseball caps or beanies, to show their allegiance to the team.

Hat etiquette has changed significantly over the centuries and has generally become more relaxed, at least in the Western world. However, it doesn’t mean that rules and traditions regarding when and where it is appropriate to wear a hat don’t exist anymore. It is especially important to understand the cultural and religious significance of hats to avoid cultural appropriation and unintentional offense.

National Hat Day isn’t a new holiday; it has been observed since at least 1983. Its date, January 15, was chosen to commemorate the day when the top hat allegedly made its first public appearance. The invention of the top hat is contributed to English haberdasher John Hetherington, who wore it in public during a court appearance on January 15, 1797 and caused a huge disturbance. While there is little proof that this actually happened, this choice of the date is as good as any.

On National Hat Day schools, libraries, museums, and other educational and cultural institutions invite students and patrons to wear their favorite hats or hats indicating their occupation. You can join the celebration by wearing your favorite hat wherever it is appropriate, arranging a hat day at work, learning more about the different types of hats, buying a new hat, throwing a hat-themed party for your friends and family, making a paper hat, and posting about your favorite hats on social media with the hashtag #NationalHatDay.

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National Hat Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the United States, significance of hats, John Hetherington