What's up with religion and hats?

It seems that many religions have as part of their rules the usage of a special hat (or underwear) . Some of them are really cool. What puzzles me is that we see hats in Judaism, Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Sikhism … What’s up with that?

It always signifies fear of and/or respect for God. It’s a public symbol of their relationship and their obeisance to it.


Christian tradition, in which men’s hats are removed in sacred places, is probably a reversal of this to mark the new religion’s separateness.

1 Corinthians 11:1-34 ESV

What you’re talking about is a kippa (Hebrew) or yarmulke (Aramaic). The OP was asking about hats, something like this.

Many, but certainly not all, Orthodox men wear formal hats during prayer time as well as during formal celebrations (weddings, bar mitzvas, etc.). They often wear the hats full time, even when walking outside. The reason for the hat over the kippa is that some Jewish codes of law call for a double head covering during prayers. Since one never knows when or where he might be when the possibility of making a blessing might come up, they wear hats much of the time.

People aren’t wearing enough of them.

I can’t speak for the OP, but that’s not how I read it. Sikhs and the others certainly wear headgear that is definitely not a hat. What that minority of ultra-orthodox Jews wear is not part of the religion any more than a Southern Baptist prohibition on wine is part of traditional Christianity.

Actually I meant anything that goes on the top of the head. Sorry for my poor terms.

I’ve researched this, and cannot find ANY codes which say this; only one cover is ever needed. (If you know of such a code, please point it out to me.) What I have found is that some consider a large formal hat to be preferable to a small informal kippa, especially during formal situations such as prayer. Wearing both at the same time is done, but mostly for practical reasons: If the wind blows the hat off, the kippa is probably still secure; and it makes the transition from a more formal to less formal situation easier (since one need merely place or remove the hat, and keep the kippa on all at times).

Odd… how does that quote jibe with the fancy hats of Catholic Cardinals and the Pope?

Whats “hats” are worn in Islam?

Sikhs have a lot of hair. A turban is a good way to wrap it up, but they need not have elaborate turbans. Particularly younger Sikhs wear the do rag like patkas.

When was the last time Catholicism required adherence to every word in the Bible?

Taqiyah is the closest example I can think of. And hijab, but that’s not really a hat. Many hats are associated with Muslim societies, but really it tends to be an Arab/Persian/African/etc. thing, and might be worn irrespective of the wearer’s actual religion. Such as the rare turban, or fez.

Maybe they count as fertility symbols instead.

As I understand it, men are expected to cover their heads while is a Jewish temple, and they graciously hand out temporary yarmulkes for those who didn’t bring their own. If a man comes in with his own hat, say a Christian in a fedora, is that acceptable?

Totally. In my synagogue, many of the men wear fedoras, including myself occasionally.

Safety Dance was secretly promoting atheism.

I’ve wondered about this too. I would imagine the head is the easiest area to cover/decorate and doesn’t get in the way of other clothing people have on.

I thought that Sikh men weren’t allowed to show their hair in public and that’s why they wear the turbans. Is that true?

Also orthodox Jewish women aren’t allowed to show their real hair in public either.

When I was quite young, and my grandmother was still alive, and when she occasionally happened to be visiting us on Friday evening, and we lighted Sabbath candles, the honor would be hers to do the sacred incantations. She typically didn’t have a yarmulke handy (and I never really knew if females were supposed to wear them anyway). But she always grabbed a paper napkin and spread it out on top of her head. That was good enough for her.

ETA: A similar story about makeshift ritual apparel: When there is a dedication ceremony for a new and significant public building, you can bet there will be a contingent of Masons about. Such buildings, in fact, commonly have a cornerstone placed by Masons, with some Masonic symbols on it. So at the dedication, or unveiling, there will be some Masons speechifying or whatever they do. Of course, they wear rather fancy ceremonial garments, the most sacred of which is the apron.

So, for ceremonial purposes, they will tend to have very ornamental and elaborately embroidered aprons. But when the Paso Robles (Ca) public library was dedicated, there was one who for whatever reason didn’t have an apron. So he just grabbed a paper towel and tucked it into his belt, and that was his ceremonial apron.

Wearing of hats is pretty common worldwide. In the West, one wasn’t properly dressed (for any outdoor activity) unless one was wearing a hat until quite recently.

Strong religions tend to be conservative and to preserve traditions for longer than general society. Religions also tend to incorporate cultural traditions into their religion. So people are wearing hats, next thing you know it becomes not merely a cultural tradition but is woven into the religion. And then the rest of culture moves on, and the tradition remains only where it is woven into strong religious views.

Religions are cultures and minority religions are particularly careful about preserving their subcultural traditions. So surfies where surfwear, skateboarders where boarding wear, truckers wear trucking wear and orthodox Jews (or whoever) wear orthodox Jew wear.

Explanations like Exapno gives may be correct at a certain level but the religious explanation is invariably just retconning of cultural traditions, and doesn’t explain why (say) a particular Jewish tradition tends to involve a *particular type *of hat.

It’s not just the LDS who have special underwear. Take Judaism, for example.

I like this page on the Wiki about religious clothing. The page and its “see also” section are a good starting point.

In Orthodox Judaism, married women wear head coverings when involved in religious ritual/prayer. Single women don’t.

For Judaism, this is tradition rather than a specific biblical imperative. I was taught (I have no cite) that this evolved from the Middle East, where headgear is necessary protection from the sun and heat. This led to the notion of keeping the head covered as a reminder of the Divine Presence (as per Exapno’s talmud quote.

I can’t speak to the other religions. I’d be interested if someone knows Catholic pope/bishop tradition, since they tend to either wear yarmulkes (implying to me that it came from Jewish tradition brought into Christianity) or hats like the Pharaohs (which leaves me puzzled.)

Someone somewhere made a video about this, where did I just see it…hold on…apparently it was a WKUK skit.

OP, did you see the same skit I did? It was on in the last week (for the 100th time).