What Type of Head Covering Should a Christian Woman Wear?

Written by elizabeth (lisa)thompson
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What Type of Head Covering Should a Christian Woman Wear?
Some Christian women wear head coverings, such as hats, in church. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

For years, students of the Bible and churches have struggled and disagreed about Paul's teaching on head coverings. Women wear head coverings as a sign of submission to men. The controversy stems from the Bible passage in I Corinthians 11: 3-16, with verse 6 as the focal verse. " But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven." According to the Catholic Planet website, women stopped wearing head coverings in the Roman Catholic Church in 1983. Most mainstream denominations do not adhere to the wearing of head coverings by women. However, some Christian groups still follow the practice, especially Amish, Mennonites and a few smaller sects. These groups use several types of head coverings, although specifics vary by sect and culture.


Hats have remained popular in church across denominational lines, especially in the African American culture. Women wear almost any type of style or colour and usually coordinate them with their shoes, clothes and purse. Some women wear hats purely as a strong fashion statement, or just because they like the look. More conservative groups, such as the Mennonites, embrace bonnets as the preferred form of head covering. Other women might choose to wear caps as head coverings.


Some women wear scarves, as these cover the hair, especially long hair, completely. Again, while some might choose to wear these as a fashion statement, others feel they cover the head more fully than a hat or doily, and thus fulfil the command of Paul more specifically. Younger girls might opt for bandannas, which serve the same purpose as a scarf but add a more youthful touch.


The veil was the traditional head covering worn in the Roman Catholic Church and of some Christian groups, especially those in Europe or with European roots. In Latin American culture, women wear a mantilla, which is lacy, sheer veil. Some women use shawls as veils.


Mennonite and other Anabaptist women also wore doilies, which some of the members knitted or crocheted. Available in a variety of sizes and colours, these are much smaller and attached on top of the head with hair clips. Although doilies only partially cover the head, church leaders felt that women were following the principle of head coverings, and for this reason allowed them.

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