Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Sydney from Rosenberg , TX. Sydney Wonders, “What are some beliefs and traditions that Mexicans have?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Sydney!

Have you ever tried on a cowboy hat? Maybe you have a favorite ball cap or sun hat at home. Perhaps you’ve even worn a Derby hat before! Like many pieces of clothing, hats serve different cultural and practical purposes. And the hat we’re talking about today is no different. That’s right! Today, we’re learning about the sombrero.

Sombreros are large hats with wide brims. They’ve long been connected with the cultures of Mexico and the southwestern United States. They’re also common in Spain.

The sombrero takes its name from the Spanish word “sombra.” It means “shade” or “shadow.” This makes sense if you picture the hat’s high crown and broad rim. They protect the head, neck, and most of the shoulders from the harsh light of the Sun.

Sombreros have been around for a long time. Similar hats have been traced back to the Mongolian people of the 13th century. The modern sombrero likely developed in the Mexican state of Jalisco in the 15th century.

Farmers and laborers usually wore sombreros made of straw. Wealthier groups often wore ones made of white, gray, or tan felt. Some were heavily decorated. They might have beads, feathers, sequins, braids, and colorful threads.

The sombrero became popular because it was so useful. For example, ranchers in the southwestern United States often wore them when working outside. Some historians think the cowboy hat was inspired by the sombrero.

Sombreros were also common among the charros (horsemen) of Guadalajara. It’s part of their traditional outfit. Many Mariachi bands also wear the sombrero. You’ll often see band members playing their guitarróns, violins, and trumpets in these wide-brimmed hats.

Today, the sombrero is a symbol of Mexican culture. It’s an important part of the traditional Mexican Hat Dance. This dance tells the story of a young man who gives up his most valuable possession—his sombrero. He does so to win the affection of the woman he loves.

Have you ever worn a sombrero? If so, you know they definitely do the job of providing shade on sunny days. Can you think of any other hats that have special purposes?

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.6, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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Join us in Wonderopolis tomorrow for an up-close look at a famous American Indian!