Monday, November 21, 2011


Q: You know the one look that I just can't rock? (Ok, so maybe there's more than one, but this is one that I don't think I will ever ever channel).

A: The pulou loku, the hats that are worn by women in Samoan churches. Like this one:

Those hats fascinate me (laugh). I'm sure there must be some kind of religious significance to them. It can't be "cultural", else MENA's fall collection would have a whole range (that I still wouldn't be able to afford).

I recall wearing a similar hat only once. It was during my initiation (is that what it's called?) into the EFKS church as a tween. A lovely lady at church had plonked it on my head as I walked up to the stage with my (gasp) hatless head. I felt like a tree had sprouted out the top of my head. You know that feeling when something feels so unnatural, no matter how hard you try to go with the flow? That's what I felt like. And it wasn't because it was an ugly hat, and most if not all the women in the church at that time were "hatted". I felt like "OMG is everyone staring at this thing on my head?" And of course they weren't, I mean the guys at the back had had their eyes closed hungover and sleeping praying, and the Sunday School teachers were patrolling the children's aisles with sticks / brooms.

To this day it baffles me. And to this day I have never ever worn a hat to church again. Now that I've been living in NZ for a good ten years (eek, has it been that long?), when I see those hats I think of the races or some other type of party-like (possibly boozy) shindig. Also, I think my head is a bit too wide, and I don't have anything to wear that would go with a hat! Maybe I just need to own it, you know? Make it work.

I hope that no hats, fascinators or hat-wearing church-attending ladies were hurt by this post. My goal is not to offend, and if someone out there actually knows why people wear hats to church, I would be interested to know.


lilidonna said...

Was just thinking about hats the other day... Been watching a lot of Mad Men on SoHo and I love seeing both the women and men's hats. It looked dashing on the men and made the women more demure and feminine. Tres tres chic!

The church hats that we grew up with however... A whole different matter...

@ i T @ h said...

Did you see all the hats that were worn during the Royal Wedding earlier in the year? I especially liked the Queen Mother's hat.

My understanding of why hats were worn in many churches is due to the beginnings of the EFKS Churches. EFKS (Ekalesia Fa'apotopotoga Kerisiano Samoa) is also known as LMS (London Missionary Society) or as Samoans say it La-Mo-Sa. The hats were worn by Missionary women from England usually Pastors wives. So like religion and many other Western things, Samoans adapted.

Bought this one hat for my mom from a flea market in Washington, we gave it a name... "The pulou fogafalelua"..because it's got layers of decorations. LOL

Fotu said...

I have only worn a hat like this once at my fa'aekalesia as well. Never again. It makes me feel old & ridiculous. Lol