The Graduation Ritual of the Medieval Space Bonnet

In the Harry Potter stories, the Hogwarts Sorting Hat was used in a ritual to assign each new student to the house they would belong to. The inspiration for this ceremony might have been a graduation ritual at the University of Edinburgh, in which each student is tapped with the Geneva Bonnet, also sometimes called “the medieval space bonnet.” The tradition goes back 150 years, but the cap is supposedly much older, having been made from the trousers of Reformation leader John Knox. He died in 1572, 13 years before the university was founded.   

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But there is doubt about the bonnet’s history. A restoration project in the early 2000s revealed a tailor’s tag inside dated 1849. This could have been added during an earlier restoration, or it could mean that the cap was made up of whole cloth -pun intended. However, it’s still quite old, and still used for every University of Edinburgh graduation ceremony. Read about the ritual of the Geneva bonnet, and how it came to called the medieval space bonnet at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: This is Edinburgh via Wikimedia Commons)

Source: neatorama

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