Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Head Covering of the Week

I'm feeling a little nostalgic: This is my very first headcovering (so you may recognize these pictures because I've used them before). Sadie has now claimed it as her headcovering and loves it nearly as much as she loves Mrs. Bunny (her lovey). It's just a normal white chapel veil, like you can find in many Catholic bookstores across the country (that's where we picked this one out).

I was a little nervous when I started wearing this one because I know some people say that the rule is white veils for unmarried women, black veils for widows and beige veils for married women. The people who say that's the rule obviously haven't tried to find a beige veil. It's practically impossible! Believe me, I've searched and so far gold is the closest to beige I've found.

A woman I know who lived in South America for a while told me that the area she lived in had a different color code for their veils. They wore black veils during Monday through Saturday and then they all wore white veils on Sunday because Christ is risen!

I tend to match my headcovering to whatever I'm wearing. I figure that the headcovering is already going to stand out, but maybe it will stand out a little less if it matches what I'm wearing. So if I'm black I try to wear a darker headcovering and if I'm wearing light colors I try to wear a lighter colored headcovering. And sometimes I just wear my red scarf because I love it!

Scanning through these pictures I can't believe how long Paul's hair used to be! Sadie's hair is curling just like his does when it's not super short. Speaking of which, his hair's getting a little long. Time to give my second hair cut ever! Hopefully I'll start getting a little faster at it as I get more practice in!

And of course I had to add this picture of the veil! I guess it ended up being my first chapel veil and Sadie's first chapel veil too!


  1. About the colors...I've never heard any color associations with martial status. Michelle Obama (who is married) wore black when meeting the Pope because that is the only color you can wear unless your royalty. So if you want to wear white, I don't see why not. And many people do wear scarves too. Sorry too much research on the matter is getting to me.

  2. Thankfully I didn't do any research for this one... it was more just info that had accumulated over time from various people giving me their opinions on things. I hadn't heard that black was the only color you could wear to see the Pope unless you're royalty. That's really interesting!

    A year of being the only one in my parish covering my head has gotten me to the point where I don't really care if anyone thinks it's weird that I am wearing white or black (or red for that matter), because I'm sure quite a few people think it's odd I cover at all!

  3. "In the Catholic Church, orthodox practice is for women to wear chapel veils and mantillas to church.[citation needed] This has declined since Vatican II, though traditionalist Catholics continue to use them,[citation needed] especially[citation needed] since Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Perhaps due to the promotion of the mantilla by Queen Isabel II, it became traditional for ladies to wear a mantilla when received in audience by the Pope, though other head coverings for women prevailed before it and after it. In the second half of the twentieth century its use declined markedly, though it is not completely out of use. Irish presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, Soviet Union First Lady Raisa Gorbachev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all met popes without wearing mantillas. Queen Sofía of Spain, as a Catholic Queen, exercised a royal privilege known as Privilège du blanc, an entitlement and royal privilege to wear white attire instead of black in the presence of the Pope. Only Roman Catholic queens and kings are allowed to have an audience with the Pope wearing white clothing, while the rest are advised and expected to wear black.[citation needed] At the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI and the Requiem Mass for John Paul II, she and Queen Paola of Belgium wore a white mantilla and a black mantilla, respectively. In more recent times Laura Bush while visiting the Holy See in 2006, members of Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg during inauguration festivities, and Michelle Obama while visiting the Holy See in July 2009, wore mantillas." Source: Wikipedia article on mantillas

    I've sort of got into the subject of headcovering because in our community there are a number of muslims. I had heard that Catholics cover too, but I had never witnessed it. And still haven't, but I could if I went to one of the Latin Masses at the Bishop's Cathedral. I'm not that brave yet. Right now everything is experimental for me.

  4. I hadn't heard the white-beige-black thing before! Interesting, but obviously limited to certain cultures (like the black through the week, white on Sunday thing).

    I'm wondering whether you'd consider wearing hats? That's what I do, but I know one fellow parishoner commented to a friend (and it then got back to me!) that wearing hats was like trying to be fashionable whereas wearing a veil was more humble. I think that sort of approach goes way overboard: most people don't wear hats at the best of times (even in sunny Oz!), and hats actually cover more of your hair than a lace mantilla.

    I think it's a good idea to match your scarf/hat with your outfit. The outward appearance is important - as you know - and looking modest, coordinated and unfrumpy at the same time is one way to inspire others to consider adopting the age-old tradition of head covering. Actually, after Mass this past Sunday a friend came up to me and commented on my apparantly extensive hat collection (it's not really extensive!) and how she was thinking of doing the hat thing too.

    Ok, I'm off to Mothers' group...wish me luck!


  5. Hi Deltaflute-

    Thanks for the quote! That is really interesting.

    I felt called to wear a veil for over a year before I actually got up the courage to do it, because no one in my parish covers either. I was surprised a couple weeks ago when we went to a Tridentine Mass and only about half of the women were covered. When I imagined it I thought all the women who went to the EF would be wearing them!

    I finally set a date for myself (which was when Sadie was born) and then started wearing them. It was tough at first (just because I was so nervous about standing out, not because anything anyone said) but now I hardly notice.

    Apparently some other people do (in a positive way I think!) because a couple of weeks ago I was wearing my black mantilla and one of the little old men at the church, who must not have very good eyes, couldn't see it, and came over and asked why my head wasn't covered this week!

  6. Hi Helen,

    I definitely wear a lot of hats! Actually, it just feels like a lot I guess, because I only own four. In spring and summer I find myself wearing the hats more (because three of my hats are kind of springy looking) and because they match every outfit that I have.

    I think I wear them less in winter because the winter hat I have is black felt and no matter what I do it always seems to get covered in cat hair (my parents have four cats in their house). I use a lint roller, but it still looks slightly fluffy!

    Now that I think about it, I didn't count my little beanie hats in my hat count (I guess I do have more hats than I knew!). I can make beanies pretty quickly, and my goal this winter is to make a couple more to match my sweaters. I'm working on a red cable knit sweater right now and if I have enough yarn I'm going to make a matching cap. If that happens you'll probably see it on here a lot because I love the color!

    I don't think that hats is trying too hard to be fashionable. My husband points out to me quite a bit that the Irish (which is what is family is) in New England wore hats and that the chapel veil just wasn't part of their tradition. I've been trying to get him to ask him mom if she remembers anyone wearing chapel veils when they were younger, but he insists that both his mom and grandmother (who's now 95 I think) said that the Irish only wore hats where they were (they live outside of Boston). I think in a lot of areas the veil just isn't part of the tradition and then hats end up being just as traditional (my husband would say- if not more so).

    So you'll probably start seeing hats in my headcovering section too. Although I'm hoping by next week the snood I ordered is here!

    I hope you had fun at your Mom's group! Talk to you soon!

  7. I imagine the hat thing is an Irish influence. I like it!

    I have also observed that only 1/2 of women at the Tridentine Mass cover their heads. Must be a similar situation across the Western world. And it's intererstingly not a generational divide: some old women wear head coverings, others don't. Same with young women! You certainly don't feel as conspicuous covereing your head at a Latin Mass as at a regular parish Mass, though!

    By beanie, do you mean a beret? Berets look so good teamed with a scarf and winter coat. They blend in a bit more than hats, too.

    Looking forward to seeing the hat pics!


  8. Hi Helen-
    A beanie is a bit more like the type of cap you would wear skiing. I'll post a picture of one in a few minutes. I just finished making Sadie one that matched the one I made last year (that's the one I'll post), but she's decided that it's the one hat that she just won't keep on her head! I haven't tried making a beret yet (I have so many projects going!) but I have a pattern for a baby on that I might give a try. I also have a book that give instructions for knitting lace triangles that I need to get around to trying out too.

  9. On the website they have cream veils. That might help!


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!