The caps of the Scottish Rite are prayer caps. We wear them to show our respect and devotion to God, and to identify ourselves as Masons of the Scottish Rite. As the White Lambskin is the Badge of a Mason, so is the regulation cap the Badge of a Scottish Rite Mason.
You may wonder, when you see the different color caps being worn by various members, what they denote.
THE CAPS AND THEIR SIGNATURE
Denotes a Master of the Royal Secret, the title of a 32º Mason of the Scottish Rite. The great majority of the members wear this cap.
The red caps are worn by those members who are 32º KCCH. At its biennial session certain 32º Scottish Rite Masons who have been 32º Masons at least four years, who have rendered signal service to the Rite, are chosen by the Supreme Council to receive the Rank and Decoration. The members who hold it are designated 32º KCCH. KCCH stands for Knights Commander of the Court of Honor. It is not a Degree but an Investiture bestowed upon members deserving recognition for faithful services to the Rite. It is one of the great honors in all Scottish Rite Freemasonry to be designated to receive this honor.
The white caps are worn by those who have been honored with the 33º Inspector General Honorary. The Thirty-third Degree is conferred by the Supreme Council upon members of the Rite in recognition of outstanding service to the Rite, or in public life, to the principles taught in the Degrees. The 33º cannot be asked for and if asked for must be refused. At its biennial session, the Supreme Council elects members of the Rite to receive the Degrees. These 33º Scottish Rite Masons are Inspectors General Honorary and honorary members of the Supreme Council. The active members of the Supreme Council are chosen from among them. A member must have previously been invested with the Rank and Decoration of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour, be a KCCH for at least four years and have attained the age of 35 years before he can be nominated for election to receive the 33º.
WHITE CAP WITH A BAND OF BLUE
The white cap with a 1 1/4" band of blue silk velvet is worn by the brother who is a 33º Mason and who has been elected by the Supreme Council to the Grand Cross of the Court of Honour. This is the highest decoration which can be bestowed on an Inspector General Honorary. It is voted very rarely to Thirty-third Degree Masons only for the most exceptional and extraordinary services.
WHITE CAP WITH RED BAND
The white cap with a 1 1/4" scarlet band denotes a Deputy of the Supreme Council. In orients (states, territories, or countries) which do not have an Active Member, the Sovereign Grand Commander appoints a "Deputy of The Supreme Council." The Deputy has powers similar to those of a Sovereign Grand Inspector General. However, he has no vote in The Supreme Council and holds his office at the pleasure of the Sovereign Grand Commander.
The blue caps are worn by those Masons who have held membership in the Rite for at least 50 years. It is a great honor and achievement to have served the Rite for 50 years.
The purple cap denotes a 33º Sovereign Grand Inspector General and an active member of the Supreme Council. This is the title of an Active Member of The Supreme Council. There is only one Active Member for any one Orient (state, territory, or country). He is the highest ranking officer of the Rite within his jurisdiction, and, in relation to the Rite, his powers are similar to those of a Grand Master of the Symbolic Craft subject, however, to The Supreme Council and the Sovereign Grand Commander.
The violet cap denotes a 33º Sovereign Grand Inspector General and an active member of the Supreme Council, and the Sovereign Grand Commander. The Sovereign Grand commander is the highest ranking officer of the Supreme Council and the chief executive and judicial officer of the Rite within this Supreme Council's Jurisdiction. He is the representative of The Supreme Council when that Body is not in session and is invested with general powers of supervision and administration everywhere within its Jurisdiction.
CORRECT WEARING OF THE CAP
The Supreme Council has set forth a rule of the correct wearing of the cap. When wearing a cap it will be considered to be a part of the apparel of the wearer and will not be removed. At the presentation of the flag, the cap will remain in place, and the members will stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. During prayer the cap will remain in place and the hands and arms will be crossed as in the 18th Degree--the "Sign of the Good Shepherd".
The wearing of caps is considered proper a Reunions, Scottish Rite Meetings, Maundy Thursday services, etc. It is improper for the cap to be worn in any other public place.