Tuesday, November 25
Word of the Day: Catherinette
"Since the Middle Ages, girls were under the protection of St Catherine (while Saint Nicolas cared for the boys). Girls participated in devotion groups to the saint, and were responsible for the confection of a beautiful headdress to 'cap' her statue each year on November 25th. The young women left the group when marrying, hence 'capping Saint Catherine' became, for a female, synonymous to 'being still single at/after 25.'
"Following the changes of women's and marriage's status in society, this custom progressively died all over France, with the exception of the hatmaking and dressmaking trades, wherein unmarried women, after they turned twenty-five, would attend a ball on St Catherine's Day in a hat made specially for the occasion; to wear such a hat was referred to as "capping St. Catherine" (coiffer sainte Catherine)." (Source).
(Mercifully for me, there appears to be no male equivalent to the term in use.)