What is a Sombrero
The word sombrero has origins in Spanish with the word originating from Sombra which basically means shade in Spanish. So sombrero is a direct pick up from shades hence the word primarily refers to shade giving hats which are worn in Mexico. We all might have seen it one time or the other while watching western movies where the characters are seen wearing big hats with pointed tops. Those are typical Sombreros.
A hat typical has two parts, a crown and a brim. Brim is the part that either goes all around to head to give protection from sun or is in front over the eyes to give shade to eyes and face. Crown is the past that covers the head and also helps in keeping the hat held on the head. Sombreros are typically Mexican hats with brims which are quite larger than brims you would see on a normal hat. The advantage of the large rim is that the shade created from the rim not only covers the eyes , face and the head but it literally gives shade to down to the neck region due to the extraordinary rim size. These are not a very old version of hats but have been developed in the more recent times. It appears that these may have been developed keeping in mind the extremely hot and sunny conditions prevalent in Mexico. Today you would not see people wearing the sombrero hats in general but these would only be donned by people for various occasions marking events related with mexico. You are most likely to see them on Mexicans living in other countries during carnivals or when they are celebrating festivals of mexico.
As they gained popularity over a period of time the sombreros have evolved with the changing times. Earlier they were made primarily from mole rats for the poor people who could not afford the costlier felt counterparts which were worn by well to do people. Designs and patterns were woven into both the economical and costlier sombreros to give some individuality. Over a period of time more materials have a been used to make them which has added a lot of variety and color to the basic sombreros. IT has come to be associated with Mexico and literally become a symbol of Mexico. These can be seen on the Mexican musicians though they originally were created for cowboys. Sombrero word can also be heard in Philippines where it has come again from mexico but is used as a broader term for any kind of caps or hats.