Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
“Why should anyone be frightened by a hat?”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (1943)
Apart from their use as protective clothing, hats have also historically signalled rank, affiliations, and social status in societies. The Bicorne hat – also known as the "cocked hat" (along with its variant, the Tricorne), was a commonly adopted military uniform element, including those of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) during the late 1700s. Most generals and staff officers of the Napoleonic period wore bicornes, and it survived as a widely worn full-dress headdress until at least 1914. The triangular-styled tricorne was worn not only by the aristocracy an military, but also as common civilian dress. There is a stunningly long list of recognizable and regional hat styles in the world, including the Deerstalker (now most closely associated with fictional detective Sherlock Holmes), the Tam o' Shanter, Glengarry, and Balmoral Bonnet of Scotland. Fashionable ladies of the Regency often sported a tartan turban for evening wear, with additional plumes to add height and colour to their elegant, classical Greek revival empire style dresses! Napoleon Cocked Hat cookie recipe included: Danish Napoleonshatte 🎩 🍪
The Cocket Hat
The Bicorn hat – also known as the cocked hat, was a commonly adopted military uniform element, including those of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) during the late 1700s.
This style of hat is probably most associated with Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor and military leader. The style was replaced by the shako in the early 1800s.
Descended from the tricorne, the black-coloured bicorne originally had a rather broad brim, with the front and the rear halves turned up and pinned together (the shorter front brim was called "the cock" - hence "cocked hat" - and the longer rear brim was termed "the fan").
The term "to be knocked into a cocked hat" means to be soundly and swiftly defeated.
Ironically, this dance took its inspiration not from any of the more recognized hat styles but from the ubiquitous and outrageous costume Scottish party hat, complete with fright wig and tartan tam o'shanter!
For a classic hat recipe for the Danish Napoleonshatte (Napoleon hat cookies), click the picture below.
See below for a video of the dance performed by the Tay Dancers in 2015.