Cameroonian Juju hats have become an integral element of many people's décor. The headwear has been featured in numerous interior design publications, urging readers to bring some a sense of culture into their homes.
The attractive plumage and bright colors of juju hats, which were originally worn by Bamileke people from Western Cameroon to adorn their heads. They used to be uncommon and only the tribe's chosen individuals were permitted to wear them. The hats weren't initially called Juju; instead, they were known as Tyn. According to theories about the hat's origin, it got its name from the Hausa term for a bad spirit or the French word "joujou," which refers to a toy.
The word "Juju" became popular among Europeans in the 1700s to designate West African healers who wore similar hats. The term "Juju" has been carried to the Americas and started being used to refer to amulets, charms, and magic in general since the days of the Atlantic slave trade.
Juju hats are worn by the Bamileke people of Cameroon to signify wealth and are regarded as avian enchantments. The eight men known as the Mkem – hereditary authorities - wear the most elaborate Juju hats. Mkem and royalty wear them together with animal masks, which are used by Fon – tribal chieftains. It is thought that the king has supernatural abilities, allowing him to shape shift into an animal, therefore they use elephant and leopard masks.
The Kuosi are another high-ranking contingent of the Bamileke. Kuosi were former warriors who over time became wealthy. The most spectacular Juju hat masquerades are led by the Kuosi. Masks may be used to depict male and female heads, buffalos, birds, and other animals. The more powerful your position in society is, the more fascinating the mask and the brighter the hat will be.
The feathers of a chicken or wild bird are woven together with palm tree fibers to make a Juju hat. A leather strap attached to the rear of the head is used to open and close the hat, which has an approximate diameter of 30-31 Inches. The hat can be folded into a basket form and the feathers tucked inside when not in use.
From a magical point of view, the Juju fashion craze appears strange and comical (to say the least), but if we look at it from another perspective, those hats must contain some strong magic to be able to attract so many people across the world to use them as a decorating element.