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Now, back to the question you asked!
Ever you wondered in winter many of us wear a hat containing a ball a the top. But do you know what’s the use of it? You might say, it’s at the top to make us look like monkeys!!! 😆 😆 Well, jokes apart, there are also have some reason to make that ball at the top.
So in this post, we will know about why there is a ball on the top of our hats, what’s the use of it for different people and many more. Excited to know? Here we go…
The small ball (see the below image) often we have seen at the top of a winter hat is mostly called a bobble or pom-pom. Pom-pom refers to the small decorative ball made of feathers or fabric material. This English word ‘pompom’ comes from the Old French word ‘pombe’, which meant “knot of ribbons”.
How the name pom-pom comes from?
Before modernisation, knitting things like hat had not been invented so woolly hats would have been made using an older technique called ‘nalbinding’. In that technique, the stitches would probably have been worked in a tube shape and then that was attached together to close the top.
But from then, the crafter might then have wanted to add something decorative thing to cover that stitching or the knot at the top. Thus, the idea to make the pom-pom at the top of the hat might came in.
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How old the word is?
Though we don’t know who made the first pompom or how old are they! But some claimed a statue made in the eleventh century shows the Viking God Freyr wearing a hat with a pompom on it.
Where some other sources described the usage of Pom-poms on hats can be found from the French Emperor Napolean’s army in the 1700s. That time, the main reason behind using this on a hat was to disclose soldiers regiment and ranking in the army. That’s why soldiers wore pom-poms of different colours on their hats.
Come to the main question, Why there is a ball on the top of our hats?
Well, there is versatile use of pom-pom on a hat. For different cultures, people, conditions; the usage of the ball (pom-pom) on the top of our hats also different. Let’s see and know them one by one –
For Sailors or Fishermen –
A knitted hat, originally made of wool, is designed to provide warmth in cold weather especially in water. In the 17-18th century, the wool cap or knitted cap was traditionally an extremely popular hat for sailors, fishermen, hunters, and others who spent their working day outdoors.
Sailors used to wear these hats having pom-pom at the top because when the sailors were out at sea including the water was rough; they were always in danger to crush their head with the cabin of the ship. But for this pompom, it gave them extra protection, just by putting that little on their hat. It also warns them of something overhead and would also protect their head in the event that they did actually get hit with something!
For Decorations –
Many cultures use pompoms as symbols or decorations on their clothing, for example, in Rome, priests wear square-peaked caps called birettas and the colour of the pompom shows wearers order. In South America, men’s and women’s traditional clothing were decorated with different coloured pompoms to indicate their marital status.
In Scotland pompoms have always been part of the traditional dress, men wear a floppy beret called a Balmoral bonnet with a bright red pom-pom called a ‘cookie’. This impressive headdress caught the attention of European regiments, including soldiers of army Napoleon’s use to put their own brand.
And in the Black Forest in Germany, women wear special straw hats called ‘bollenhut’ which have fourteen handmade pompoms on them! Unmarried women wear red pompoms and married women wear black pompoms. Each hat takes about a week to make and you can imagine how much time it takes to make all those pompoms. The hats can be quite large and heavy so these days they were only worn on special occasions. [Source]
For real uses in our modern world –
Pompoms are not always just decorative – they are useful too. Imagine you’re in a very cold, wearing thick leather or woollen gloves to keep your hands warm. Now, you probably wear a thick woolly hat to keep your head warm too, isn’t it?… But during your exercise or work, your body will get warms up. But you don’t want to overheat. Consequently, you have to be able to remove your hat, but your thick gloves prevent you from gripping it. But here that pompom will help to pull your hat off from your head without removing your leather gloves.
The pom pom is useful for hiding the finishing threads of a hat. Knitting allows you to have a seamless stretchy hat until you reach the top. The stretching of the knit itself tights the head, keeping the cap secure.
Another thing is – without pom-pom, there will be a little hole on the top of our hat which will develop over time.
In conclusion, humans love to see and make things beautiful. Here decoration has the main priority to things like this, even if there is no functional reason for them.
So, next time you wear a hat with a pompom, wear it with pride. It might save you from hit your head. Hope you enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading! See you soon 😉
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