Pictures of Pope Benedict XVI wearing a personalized sombrero graced many a front page today. (Sombreros Salazar, a 55-year-old, family-owned millinery shop, has also made hats for popes Paul VI and John Paul II, according to the Associated Press.)
“I’ve made a lot of trips, but I’ve never been welcomed with such enthusiasm,” Benedict said Sunday. “Now I can understand why Pope John Paul II used to say, ‘I feel like I’m a Mexican pope.’”
Just like politicians visiting Texas are photographed wearing cowboy hats, dignitaries touring Mexico are often compelled to don sombreros as a display of cross-cultural good humor. Here are some famous people through the ages wearing sombreros during Mexican sojourns (or, in the case of Pope John Paul II, when meeting with Mexican guests).
United States President George H.W. Bush shows off a sombrero he received from Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari on Nov. 26, 1990 in Agualeguas after a rodeo at the start of his two-day visit. The two leaders were discussing free trade pact. (AP Photo | Valente Cotera)
Wearing a big Mexican sombrero, United States President Gerald Ford accepts a tray from a well-wisher during his visit to Magdalena, Mexico on Oct. 22, 1974. Petals of flowers shower president Ford and President Luis Echeverria of Mexico, left, and Mayor Alicia Arellano, of Magdalena, at the right. (AP Photo)
Chinese President Jiang Zemin tries on a sombrero during a visit to Mexico City on Dec. 1, 1997. (AP Photo | Jose Luis Magana)
Cuban President Fidel Castro receives a Mexican sombrero from an unidentified person during a visit to Cancun, Mexico on May 18, 1979. (AP Photo)
Pope John Paul II wears a typical Sombrero “Charro” he was given on April 11, 1979 by a member of the Monterrey, Mexico band Boy’s Town, which performed for the Pontiff in St. Peter’s Square. (AP Photo