UK Straw Hat Day on May 15 is a day of the straw hat dominated by the well-kept headgear. At least when it comes to our British neighbors, who celebrate this date as their nationwide Straw Hat Day (rather rarely: National Straw Hat Day). This article explains what this is all about and why this day of honor for the straw hat deserves a permanent place in the calendar of curious holidays from all over the world . So why do we celebrate the straw hat on this date in May?
Who started National Straw Hat Day?
Although this headgear made of plaited straw is one of the oldest known headgear in human cultural history, the origins of this day of honor for straw hats are obscure. In the course of my research, I was unable to find out who started Straw Hat Day and when exactly it has been celebrated in Great Britain.
Against this background, the lack of justification for choosing the date today, May 15th, can be explained. A possible substantive connection to also committed today the day of chocolate drops (Engl. National Chocolate Chip Day), the day of nylon stockings (Engl. National Nylon Stocking Day) or by the UN-initiated International Day of Families (Engl. International Day of Families) at least it doesn’t seem to exist here.
At least five good reasons why the straw hat deserves its own holiday
As always, if the facts regarding the background or concrete origins of a curious holiday look rather poor, it is worth taking a look at the information available:
- As already indicated in the introduction, the straw hat is one of the oldest known headgear in cultural history, the shape of which has hardly changed over time. Already the Saxons of the 10th century wore it to protect against the sun.
- But not only in Europe, but also in Africa and Asia, this headgear has long been known and is still extremely popular. An example of this is the traditional Mokorotlo straw hat (also known as Basotho hat) in Lesotho. The hat shape is modeled on a mountain near Thaba Bosiu and has been a national symbol since the 1940s, which is also depicted on the country’s license plates.
- Both in the USA and in Germany there were two centers of international straw hat production in the 20th century: While in the USA the city of Baltimore, Maryland is to be mentioned, the German town of Lindenberg in Allgäu was until 1945 as the heart of the German straw hat industry at peak times produced around 5 million hats a year.
- Incidentally, the world’s largest straw hat also comes from Germany. However, it was not made in the Allgäu, but in Twistringen in Lower Saxony. There the hat with a diameter of approx. 5.8 meters is still on display in the local museum for straw processing. This huge headgear was made on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the city in 2000.
- In addition, today’s day of the straw hat fits perfectly into the series of the previously known hat holidays. As an example, reference is made to the following dates: the day of the hat (National Hat Day) on January 15, the day of the Filzhuts (National Felt Hat Day.) On September 15 and the days of the Mad Hatter (Mad Hatter Day) October 6th.
In this sense: Have a great day of the straw hat to all of you. 🙂 And of course many thanks to my parents who made their photos of the straw hats available to me.