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The Superstition and Significance of Cowboy Hats: What You Need to Know

The Superstition Behind Placing Cowboy Hats on Beds

For many people, placing a cowboy hat on a bed might seem like a harmless act, but in reality, it’s a superstition that has been around for decades, if not centuries. Some people believe that it brings bad luck, while others believe that it invites evil spirits into your home.

But how did this belief come about, and is there any practical reason why you should never put your cowboy hat on a bed?

Origins of the Superstition

The origins of this superstition can be traced back to the Old West, where cowboys believed that placing their hats on a bed would invite evil spirits into their home. In those days, people believed that evil spirits would rest on a person’s head while they were asleep, and so placing a hat on a bed would encourage these spirits to take up residence in the home.

This belief was so deeply ingrained in their culture that even today, many people still follow this superstition. Another belief that contributed to this superstition was that hats on a bed would increase static electricity in the room.

This would then attract dust and even bugs from the air, making the bed an unsanitary place to sleep. This, in turn, could lead to a variety of illnesses and infections.

Practical Reason for Proper Storage

While the superstition may have originated from some practical reasons like the above, there are also some practical reasons why you should never put your cowboy hat on a bed. One reason is that it can attract lice.

Lice are commonly found in hats, and placing your hat on a bed can cause the lice to migrate from the hat to your bedding. This can lead to an infestation of these pesky bugs, which can be very difficult to get rid of.

So, what should you do with your cowboy hat instead of placing it on a bed? The best way to store your cowboy hat is to use a hat rack.

A hat rack is an excellent way to keep your hat in good condition and help to maintain its shape. You can find different types of hat racks, including ones that hang on the wall or sit on top of a dresser or table.

Once you have your hat rack, it’s important to store your hat upside down. This helps to prevent dust and other debris from accumulating inside your hat, which can cause it to become dirty or damaged.

Alternative Beliefs and Superstitions

While the belief that you should never place a cowboy hat on a bed is well-known, there are also several alternative beliefs and superstitions that exist within cowboy culture. For example, some people believe that storing your cowboy hat upside down is a sign of good luck.

This belief likely stems from the idea that the devil cannot stand on his head, and therefore, bad luck will stay away from you if your cowboy hat is upside down. Another common belief is that receiving a cowboy hat as a gift is bad luck.

This superstition dates back to the Old West, where rising cowboys would often have to purchase their own hat as a sign of their independence. If someone else bought them a hat, it was seen as a sign of dependence, which was frowned upon.


While the superstition of not putting cowboy hats on beds may seem insignificant to some, it has a long and storied history within cowboy culture. Whether the origins of the superstition sprang from practical reasons or pure superstition, the proper storage of your cowboy hat is crucial to maintaining its condition and preventing illnesses or infestations.

By using a hat rack and storing your hat upside down, you can keep your cowboy hat in great shape and avoid any potential bad luck that may come from straying from traditional cowboy beliefs.

Cowboy Culture and Beliefs

The American West has always held a certain fascination for people all over the world. From the sweeping vistas of the Rocky Mountains to the open prairies of the Great Plains, the West seems to embody an adventurous, rebellious spirit that permeates American culture.

At the heart of this culture are the cowboys, who would ride across the vast expanses of the Western Frontier, taming the land and its wildlife. These cowboys lived a life that was tough and dangerous, and their culture was characterized by a strong code of honor, a resilient spirit, and an unwavering belief in superstitions.

Historical Context of Cowboy Culture

The history of cowboy culture dates back to the mid-1800s, when the Western Frontier was slowly being settled by pioneers from the east. These pioneers came in search of a new life, and as they began to stake their claim to the land, they soon discovered that they needed someone to help them control the vast herds of cattle that roamed the West.

This gave rise to the cowboy, who became the backbone of the cattle industry in the region. Cowboys would spend weeks and even months out on the range, driving herds of cattle from one place to another.

They lived a hard life, braving harsh weather conditions and facing constant danger from wild animals and bandits. But despite the risks, cowboys held a deep respect for the land and the animals they tended to.

Their lives were defined by a strong sense of duty and a willingness to endure whatever hardships came their way.

Role of Superstitions in Cowboy Culture

Superstitions have always played a significant role in cowboy culture. As it turns out, cowboys were a deeply superstitious group of people.

They had a wide range of beliefs and practices that were meant to bring them good luck and protect them from harm. The origins of these superstitions are often lost in time, but many were handed down through generations of cowboys and became a part of their tradition and belief systems.

One of the most well-known superstitions among cowboys was the belief that whistling near a horse would spook the animal. This belief was so strong that cowboys would avoid whistling altogether when they were around their horses.

They believed that whistling would cause their horse to become frightened and might lead to accidents or injuries. Another common superstitious practice among cowboys was spitting on their hands before they shook someone else’s hand.

This practice was believed to bring good luck and was considered a sign of trust and respect. It was also seen as a way to bring some moisture to the hands, which could be helpful when handling ropes or guns.

Cowboys also believed that wearing certain colors would bring them good luck. For example, they believed that red shirts were lucky while green shirts were unlucky.

This belief was so strong that many cowboys would only wear certain colors when they went out on the range.


For cowboys, superstitions were an essential part of their belief systems. They lived in a dangerous world, and these superstitions gave them a sense of control over their environment.

At the same time, these superstitions helped to define their culture and gave them a sense of identity. Today, even though the world has changed, the traditions and beliefs of the cowboys continue to be celebrated and honored.

Whether it’s through rodeos or country music, the cowboy’s spirit lives on, reminding us of a simpler time when hard work, resilience, and a strong belief in superstition were the hallmarks of the American West. The article explores the significance of superstitions in cowboy culture, which emerged during the Western Frontier period of American history.

It examines the historical background of cowboy culture, the influence of tradition and belief systems, and the various superstitious practices that cowboys adhered to. The article emphasizes that the superstitions played a key role in defining the cowboy’s identity and provided a sense of control over their environment.

Overall, the article highlights the importance of preserving the rich cultural heritage of cowboy beliefs and traditions.


Q: What is cowboy culture?

A: Cowboy culture refers to the way of life adopted by cowboys, who worked in the American West during the 19th century and became the backbone of the cattle industry. Q: What are some common superstitious beliefs among cowboys?

A: Some common superstitious beliefs among cowboys include spitting on their hands before shaking someone else’s hand, avoiding whistling near horses, and wearing certain colors for good luck. Q: How do superstitions impact cowboy culture?

A: Superstitions played a crucial role in cowboy culture as they provided a sense of control over their environment and defined their identity and traditions. Q: Why is it important to preserve cowboy culture?

A: Preserving cowboy culture is important because it is a valuable part of American history and cultural heritage, which serves as a reminder of the era’s values of hard work, resilience, and self-reliance.

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