The witch hat

Have you ever wondered why the witch's hat is pointed?

Today we perceive the witch as a fictional character and like all evil characters, it is an inspiration for many artists, from illustrators, to writers, to directors and of course for dollmakers; but the story of witches we know very well that it is very sad and the origin of the pointed hat is also sad. There are some theories concerning the genesis of the witch's hat and they are all based on the discrimination of a diversity. The first concerns Antisemitism. In about 1200 the Jews were obliged by an edict of the Catholic church to identify themselves, when they came out of the ghetto, with a pointed hat called 'Jewish hat' which was however white or yellow. Perhaps this type of hat was later associated with necromancy, a practice the Jews were accused of.

The second theory concerns the prejudice against Quakers who had a conical hat that could later be included by the Puritans in demonic iconography.


The last theory, the one that seems most plausible to me concerns persecution and discrimination against female independence. The witches' hat derives from that of the British Ale-wife, ladies who produced craft beer which they sold themselves on street corners. They wore a high pointed hat, perhaps to attract attention and make their sales point recognizable. The men who were in charge of the beer trade began to accuse these women of adulterating beer with herbs or diluting it with other magical liquids. Hence their hat was associated with witchcraft.

In the Middle Ages witches were depicted with loose hair, often naked. From 1700, in England, in the illustrations the witches began to be represented with a pointed hat. The stereotype spread quickly. Even the Befana, in Italy, began to be represented as such. The pointed hat, however, as a piece of clothing, has been widely used since ancient times, in particular in the Middle Ages it was used by noble women in many European countries. Fortunately, today the pointed hat of the witch is a beautiful clothing accessory for Halloween costumes and has a magical and playful meaning at the same time. Witches today give the idea of strong women that are enough for themselves perhaps just like the Ale-wife.

To wish you happy Halloween I made these witch hats on pumpkin that I can finish as a brooch or as magnets, you can find them already on Etsy but I suggest you read my newsletter that will arrive on Friday or subscribe if you haven't signed up yet because there will be a surprise!

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