Roman Catholic clergy hat

birettaThe Biretta is a square cap with three or four ridges or peaks traditionally worn by Roman Catholic clergy and some Anglican and Lutheran clergy. Sometimes a Biretta is topped with a tuft.

Biretta is also the term used for a similar cap worn by those holding doctoral degrees from some universities, and is occasionally used for caps worn by advocates in law courts, for instance the Advocates in the Channel Islands.

Mentioned as early as the tenth century, the origin of the Biretta is probably the academic hat of the Middle Ages, which was a soft, square cap.

The medieval academic hat is the ancestor of the modern mortarboard hat used today in universities.