In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade
Irving Berlin, “Easter Parade” 1933
The origin of the Easter bonnet dates back to medieval Europe when women would dress up in their best, newest clothes as a sign of religious devotion during the Lenten season. The hats were often adorned with bright ribbons and flowers to symbolize renewal and rebirth. As time went on, these hats evolved into the elaborate bonnets we know today.
Easter bonnets are traditionally decorated with seasonal blooms like daisies, tulips, and daffodils. These flowers represent new life and optimism for the coming springtime months. In some traditions, people also adorn their hats with feathers or ribbons that signify joy or beauty.
The significance behind wearing an Easter bonnet is twofold. On one hand, it is a way to show piety by dressing in one’s finest clothing. On the other hand, it is a way to express joy for the upcoming spring season when nature comes alive once again after a long winter hibernation period. This dual symbolism makes wearing an Easter bonnet a meaningful way to honour both religious beliefs and natural cycles of life at once.
THE MODERN EASTER BONNET
In New York City in the 1930s, women scrambled to out-do each other with their finest hats for the famous Easter Parade, a festive procession that goes down Fifth Avenue to St. Patrick's Cathedral, referenced in the Irving Berlin poem above. The event takes place to this day, at 10 a.m. on Easter Sunday, following a 130-year-old tradition, with the hats becoming more and more extravagant every year..
In modern times, the traditional bonnet has been interpreted in new and forward-thinking ways, representing joy, inclusion, as well as renewal. At Fleurs de Villes, we often have our floral artists create unique headpieces for our ambassadors at each show. There is something about wearing flowers in one’s hair that elevates the spirit (just ask Frida Kahlo, who wore cactus flowers from her own garden in her hair, or Carmen Miranda, known for her extravagant, towering head pieces of fruit and flowers).
Here are some more of the joyful looks that we have created over the years to use as inspiration for your personal interpretation of the Easter bonnet this festive season.