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Have you ever wondered why your knitted hat has a pom pom? Well, there are a number of reasons, and some of them date back hundreds of years.
In fact, some think the origins of the bobble hat actually started in the Viking era. According to a thread on Reddit, it's believed pom poms were first worn in Scandinavia, where Viking god Freyr was depicted wearing a helmet complete with pom poms many hundreds of years ago.
The phrase pom pom comes from the French 'pom-pon' - referring to a 'small decorative ball' . While they may have been used solely for decorative reasons, one Redditor thinks they could have been added to hide the knitted seams of the hat.
"As for function, it seems self-evident that a pompom is useful for hiding the finishing of a hat. Knitting (and the older nålebinding used by Viking Age Scandinavians) allows for a stretchy hat with no seams, until, that is, you get to the top," they wrote.
"Modern hats are finished with decreasing stitches which leave seams; or the hat may be constructed as a parallel tube with a drawstring at the top, leaving pleats. Either way, if you're not an expert knitter, you might want to put a pompom on it."
Others meanwhile, claimed the bobble pom pom exists to make it easier to actually remove your hat.
But that's not the only reason why pom poms have long been adorning our woolly hats.
According to The Outline pom poms were used as part of Napoleon’s military uniform, where colour indicated which company the soldiers belonged.
In more recent history, they were also believed to be integral to the uniform of Scottish Highland regiments, while sailors are also reported to have worn bobble hats to protect their heads while at sea.
More recently, The Monkees' Michael Nesmith is also thought to have accelerated the trend in the 1960s!
So there you have it! There's a pretty long history to our humble bobble hat.
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