In some circles, straw hats are synonymous with spring and summer, so it should come as no surprise that fans celebrate National Straw Hat Day when the weather starts to get warmer each year. The date of this unofficial American holiday varies somewhat, but it's generally celebrated in late spring or early summer. Some people say it's May 15, but back in 1915 when the traditional supposedly started, it was celebrated on April 24. Either way, many consider National Straw Hat Day the unofficial beginning of summer and the first day of the 'straw hat season.' Yes, such a thing exists!
The origins of National Straw Hat Day
Many people nowadays associate straw hats with women's wear. However, according to the history books, National Straw Hat Day originally came about as a holiday mostly for men. In the early 20th century, it was not only fashionable but also functional for men to wear straw hats. Felt hats, an important part of men's winter wardrobes, were put away on Straw Hat Day in favor of straw hats, which let air circulate while still providing protection from the sun. The unofficial straw hat season ran until September 1, when men would once again don their felt fedoras.
National Straw Hat Day today
Although the fedora and other men's hats have made a comeback in recent years, hats aren't the status symbols they once were. Thus, the celebration of Straw Hat Day or the recognition of a straw hat season might have run its course for the most part.
In some circles, however, this holiday might still be celebrated, perhaps by history buffs or those who still remember the days when a man's choice of hat said something about his social stature. In some climates and groups -- warm-weather retirement communities, perhaps? -- the reemergence of the straw hat might mark the unofficial start of summer, much like the groundhog suggests the coming of spring.