Wednesday, June 1, 2011


November 25th,  Sainte Catherine's feast day, is sometimes known in France as the day of the Catherinettes. On this day, young women aged 25 who are not yet married have the opportunity to wear an outlandish hat and go looking for a husband!  It's like Sadie Hawkins' Day in the USA, but with funny hats.

This was a day in which traditionally unmarried women over age 25  wear their Catherinette finery, and going on the town to parties or balls, looking for fun and possibly a husband, if they're lucky.  The day of Saint Catherine was an important day for it gave young working women the opportunity to break away from the harsh conditions of the workshop. They would put on their best clothes (and a specially made hat) and attend organised balls and parties, events that were sometimes for some considered their last chance to find a husband!

Becoming 25, and being known as a Catherinette has only ironic implications in today's France, which has a lower marriage rate than most countries; and the average age of first marriages for women has climbed to 28.

But, all in all: one must take an opportunity to wear a pretty hat.  They don't have a Kentucky Derby to attend.

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