Different types of hats and head-coverings have been around for as long as man-kind has and fulfill needs such as religious needs, social needs and fashion needs. Social status, communal identity and professional rank can all be indicated with a head-covering. There are also plenty of religions in the world whose members wear head-coverings and hats due to religious laws and when one knows the differences between these hats one can quite easily identify people of different religious faiths as they pass by you on the street. We invite you to read on so as to get to know your fellow human-beings a little better and to become aware of the rich variety of people who surround you on a daily basis.
The Zucchetto is a small, hemispherical skullcap that fits closely to the head and is worn by clerics in Catholic Churches as well as by higher clergy in Anglicanism and in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Zucchetto is very similar in appearance to the head-covering worn by Jewish people (see more on that below) but whereas the Jewish head-covering is worn for religious reasons, the Zucchetto came into use in the Middle Ages as a way of keeping clerics’ tonsured heads warm!
The Taqiyah is a short, rounded cap worn by Muslims and the reason they do so is to emulate Mohammed whose companions were never seen with their heads uncovered. Although some wear the cap for religious reasons, over the years it became acceptable for people to wear them for traditional purposes only. The Taqiyah can be worn in any color when worn by itself but when worn under the keffiyah scarf it is always white.
The Rastacap is a tall, round, crocheted hat worn by those of the Rastafarian faith. It is often brightly colored and many Rastafarians will tuck their dreadlocks that they grow for religious reasons, under their Rastacap. Mostly men wear the Rastacap. Rastacaps are worn for religious reasons, as a fashion statement, as a convenient head-covering on those bad hair days or even as a socio-political statement.
The Kippah is the head-covering worn by observant Jewish males. “Kippah” is a Hebrew word and the head-covering will also sometimes be called by its Yiddish name, “Yarmulke”. The Kippah is a hemispherical-shaped cap and from the age of three Jewish males are obligated to wear it. The Kippah serves to remind Jewish men at all times of G-d above them as in Judaism it is believed that men need more external reminders of G-d’s Presence.
The Dastar is the turban worn by Sikh men, underneath which is gathered their unshorn long hair. The Dastar is worn in accordance with one of the five principles of the Sikh faith that states that Sikh men may not cut their hair. They view the turban as a spiritual crown that serves to constantly remind them that they are committed to living by the Sikh principles.
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Uriel Sela is a partner at Ajudaica.com that sellsalso known as “Kippot”.