In almost every photo from the North Peel Community Church congregation, you will see women wearing beautiful hats at worship services and formal events. Ranging from colourful wide-brimmed hats to smaller ‘fascinators’, this centuries-old custom of wearing stylish hats to Church continues to flourish throughout Black communities across Canada and the United States.
Church hats have become an art form and important cultural symbols. Made from wool, felt, cotton or nylon fabric, some are simple head coverings, and many are uniquely decorated with bows, lace, ribbons and feathers. From a young age, women in this congregation wear hats at church events “as a sign of respect.”