Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here
Start your mornings with the good, the beautiful, the true... Subscribe to Aleteia's free newsletter!
Sign me up!

Not Prepared to Donate?

Here are 5 ways you can still help Aleteia:

  1. Pray for our team and the success of our mission
  2. Talk about Aleteia in your parish
  3. Share Aleteia content with friends and family
  4. Turn off your ad blockers when you visit
  5. Subscribe to our free newsletter and read us daily
Thank you!
Team Aleteia



Did you know the pope’s hat is named for a pumpkin?


Kind of cute, right?

Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. The pope’s skull cap looks like a pumpkin, and that’s how it got its name.

The zucchetto, the close-fitting skullcap worn by the pope and other members of the Catholic clergy, is named for its resemblance to the top half of a pumpkin.

Literally translated to “little pumpkin” from Italian, the zuchetto’s original use was practical according to EWTN – it derived from the felt skullcap known as the pileolus meant to keep clerics’ heads warm in the cold, stone churches and monasteries of the Middle Ages. Once 16th-century Spanish explorers brought pumpkins and other squashes to Europe from Mexico, where they originated, the nickname was inevitable.

Pope Paul VI made the zucchetto obligatory for members of the Church hierarchy in 1968, but all other clerics may wear one. What color one wears depends on one’s rank:

White: The pope

Scarlet: Cardinals

Amaranth Red: Patriarchs, archbishops and bishops

Black: Lower clergy

The zucchetto is worn and removed at different times according to these circumstances:

When the zucchetto is worn it is worn outdoors, indoors and, if a bishop, in the liturgy. Other clerics are supposed to leave them in the sacristy. Within the liturgy if the prelate is not celebrating it is removed briefly when reverencing the altar. It is removed at the Sanctus and restored before the Our Father, during which it is worn. Noonan notes that some prelates have started removing them during the Gospel and Our Father, but this is against long-standing custom and law. The zucchetto is removed in the presence of the exposed Blessed Sacrament, in procession of the Blessed Sacrament and during veneration of, or blessing with, a relic of the True Cross. They are also removed in the presence of the Holy Father, except during the liturgy, when it is worn as previously stated. However, it is briefly removed as a reverential acknowledgement when addressing the Holy Father or referring to him in a liturgical or other public discourse at which he is present. (EWTN)

And speaking of cute …

Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.
Aleteia offers you this space to comment on articles. This space should always reflect Aleteia values.
[See Comment Policy]
Readers like you contribute to Aleteia's Mission.

Since our inception in 2012, Aleteia’s readership has grown rapidly worldwide. Our team is committed to a mission of providing articles that enrich, inspire and inform a Catholic life. That's why we want our articles to be freely accessible to everyone, but we need your help to do that. Quality journalism has a cost (more than selling ads on Aleteia can cover). That's why readers like you make a major difference by donating as little as $3 a month.