The ruling party of Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress (APC)'s unveiling of its Vice Presidential Candidate Senator Kashim Shettima on Wednesday, July 20 ignited a social media challenge called #Bishopchallenge after clerics were reportedly hired for the occasion.
Nigerians across social media platforms recreated Catholic cleric-like personalities of themselves by using household items and sharing the photos online with #Bishpchallenge as a hashtag.
The photos really cracked up people but only a few know the significance and meaning attached to the skullcap also called a zucchetto. Legit.ng shares in this article, 4 interesting facts about the zucchetto.
1. History of the zucchetto
In the Catholic church, cardinals who had been secular priests received the red zucchetto and also the red biretta in 1464 from Paul II, New Advent reports.
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According to Etymonline, the zucchetto was also worn by dignitaries in the Catholic Church in 1853.
The skullcap which has a relation with the beret was the adopted circa in the Early Middle Ages or earlier, to keep clerics' heads warm.
Its name is derived from its resemblance to half a pumpkin.
2. Zucchetto construction and design
The design of the zucchetto used in modern catholicism is eight triangular panels that are joined at the tips to form a hemispherical skullcap.
At the central tip of the zucchetto is the "stem" also referred to as stirpis or stirpes. The modern catholic skullcap is made mostly from polyester fabric or silk.
3. What the zucchetto colours denote
There are different colours of the skullcap namely red, white and purple.
According to a popular catholic priest identified as Fr Kelvin Ugwu, the pope's zucchetto is white, while cardinals and bishops use red and purple skullcaps respectively.
The colour differentiation aids in identifying the ecclesiastics in the Catholic church.
4. Purpose of the zucchetto
Fr Kelvin Ugwu has also shed light on why ecclesiastics wear the skullcap.
He said historically, the skullcap was created to protect the wearer's head bared by tonsure (a ritual shaving of the crown of the head as a sign of humility and one's religious vocation).
The priest explained that the shaving of the crown was also a way of identifying with Christ who wore a crown of thorns during his passion. It was usually a requirement that before ordination to the priesthood, the circular shaving of the person's crown of the head is done.
However, Pope Paul VI abolished the practice in 1972. Fr Kelvin said in modern era:
"...The zucchetto symbolizes the bishop's duty to keep watch over his whole flock, sustaining the weak and wavering, solidifying the faith, and leading those gone astray back into the true fold."
CAN reacts to bishop's gracing Shettima's unveiling as Tinubu's running mate
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had reacted after bishops attended Shettima's unveiling as APC's vice presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections.
The religious body said the bishops were desperados who went there for themselves, The Punch reported.
Legit.ng gathered that CAN said that although the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was free to “hire mechanics and other artisans and sew clerical garments for them”, that effort would only add to their many ropes but would not change the need for fairness and justice.