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Festival Hat

Hats embodying the shapes of animals, or decorated with auspicious symbols, were worn by Chinese children to protect them from evil spirits and to ensure their future successes. Animals were understood to bestow unique abilities such as strength and power, and would also protect the child by virtue of these same qualities. Worn mostly by boys between the ages of one month and five years, these hats were given to mark special occasions during the child’s development. They were worn for festive events, such as a child’s birthday, New Year’s celebrations, or for the Dragon Boat festival. There were several types of hats: a first month cap, given when a child reaches one month old; an open crown cap, also worn in infancy, and; a dog head cap to mark the first birthday. Other hats include the wind hat, tiger hat and scholar hat, which was given to older children to ensure future social and political success.

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