Taking hats off when someone dies is a means of paying respect to the dead, to prove that as a hat wearer, you are shocked about the incident as are sorry and respectful to the dead and the family of the deceased. 

It is very saddening to lose a loved one. The first thought that would cross your mind is, I’m never going to see this person again. Preparation is made to bury the deceased. It is really heartbreaking if the deceased is young.

During this time, people come to visit the family members of the deceased. They will come over to pay their last respect. They also pay their last respect by attending the funeral service of the deceased.

People die every time. According to the Bioethics blog, about 120 people die every minute. People die in accidents, in their sleep, in hospitals, on the streets, and in homes. Anyway someone dies, it’s still a sad experience.

In the past, you could tell if a person is of a high social class by his/her hat. Hats were used for protection and for fashion. Men and women wear hats all the time. But there are occasions where the hat should not be worn.

Men were not allowed to wear their hats indoors. They can’t wear hats in church, in the house and anywhere that is considered indoor. They were to remove the hats.

Women were allowed to wear their hats indoors. It sounds more like a double standard. Women would only remove their hats outside if it’s a baseball hat when the national anthem is on.

In western culture, many people believe that removing the hat was a sign of respect. Not only this, but it’s also a way of preventing dirt and dust in the house. The roads were dusty at that time, so dust would be on the hats. If the hats were not removed, the dust will fall on the furniture.

The men didn’t just remove their hats indoors, there are also times when the hats should be removed. The hats were removed when the national anthem is on when there is a funeral procession or during a funeral service. But then it depends on the culture.

Some cultures are not accepting the western culture so they do things their way. Men and women would have their hats or caps on when the national anthem is on. In Nigeria for example, people don’t remove their caps when the national anthem is on or when there is a funeral procession. Some people who accepted the western fashion sense don’t even have an understanding of why some things are done. They just dress the way they want breaking so many rules.

So talking about hats and respect for the dead, why do you take off your hat when someone dies?

It is possible you are in the room with someone that is about to die or you entered the room where the deceased was laid. It could be your family member, friend, church member, or colleague at work. When you are about to enter the room and you have a hat on, you are to remove the hat if you are a man. You can leave your hat on as a female.

Many females can’t even stay in the same room with a corpse. You remove your hat when someone dies as a means of respect for the deceased. You will not see the person again so that’s the only way to pay the last respect.

Do You Take Off Your Hat When Someone Dies?

Yes, you should take your hat off when someone is dead unless you are ignorant of this rule and if you are a female. Taking off your hat shows that you are truly sorry for the loss.

In the past, when there is a funeral procession, everyone stops and the men wearing hats would remove them. So, if you have your baseball cap on and someone died or there is a funeral procession, remove your cap.

Also, the culture of the deceased will determine if people should remove their hats or not. There are religions that don’t allow men to remove their caps. The men must always have their caps on. So if someone dies, they are not concerned about removing their caps. The way they show their respect is different. What we see as respect also determines how we will act.

Why Do You Take Off Your Hat When Someone Dies?

According to western culture, taking off hats when someone dies is an act of respect to the deceased and the family. You are showing deep respect to the deceased when you do this. The man will remove his hat and will hold it to his chest.

In this age, many people are ignorant of this rule and they still have their hats on when someone dies – especially baseball hats. Whatever kind of hat you are wearing, you should remove it when someone dies.

You should also remove your hat when you attend the funeral service of the deceased and at the gravesite because it is rude to wear hats at the funeral. The culture and religion of the people should also be put into consideration. If the family members of the deceased follow western culture, then you have to take off your hat when the deceased died.

Where Does the Tradition of Taking Off Your Hat Come From?

The tradition of taking off the hat can also be traced to the military that existed before the 1950s. The military had covers (caps worn by the soldiers) that were very high. The covers were made that way so that they would appear taller and menacing to the enemies.

The men had to remove their hats when going inside a building because the doors at that time were shorter and the covers might be damaged. It wouldn’t look good if the cover of the soldier was falling off because it was hitting the header of the door.

In western culture, the hat is an integral part of their outfit. Hats were worn for protection and for fashion. The hats protect the eyes from sun rays and dirt. The men were to remove their hats indoors to prevent the dirt from falling on furniture.

They were to remove their hats when speaking to a lady. They were also to remove their hats to honor the dead. It’s an old rule of respect.

When a man removes his hat, he is trying to make himself equal with others. Women don’t take off their hats unless it’s obstructing the view of someone else. Women wear hats because they complement their outfits.

But then, many people don’t know this. Also, young people in this century don’t wear bowlers, western hats, and fedoras. They prefer their baseball hats.


The mourning period should be a time of support and comfort. You are to offer your kind words to the family of the deceased because it’s not a good time for them. And there are still people that understand hat etiquette. It would be distracting when they notice that you are not obeying the rule.

Knowing the rules surrounding hat-wearing will help you avoid some embarrassing moments. When someone dies, you should remove your hat. It’s the last time you will be seeing the body, so show the deceased some respect.

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