The Old White Veil Rule

Talking to my mom this morning, I mentioned the recent comments on Father Z’s blog about people in some traditional Latin Mass communities having the custom that single women wear white lace “veils” and married women wear black lace veils.

(This sort of simple identification custom is very useful for a small community, but it’s also the sort of thing which immediately screams “New tradition!” I mean, what do you do when people wear purple veils or blue veils or rainbow veils? Or what if they wear solid or print fabric veils or scarves? It also obviously discourages the wearing of hats…. Besides, it’s a bit creepy to advertise marital status with your head instead of your ring finger. But I digress.)

The important bit is that my mom was really unhappy about the idea that anybody was wearing white veils in church. Why? Because it’s after Labor Day! “No white after Labor Day” applied back then to veils as well as all other clothing. (Unless you were wearing a habit and had escaped such things.) Naturally, this would only have been an American rule, although I believe “no white in the winter” was/is a fashion rule in many countries with cold climates. (Dirt. Coaldust. So white was for cool summer clothes.)

Anyway, since all of Father Z’s Hispanic and Italian combox members disclaimed all knowledge of this tradition, I was wondering if this married/single color thing had been some kind of whitebread American Catholic insta-tradition from the bouffant days before Vatican II. So I asked. My mother disclaimed all knowledge of such a tradition and said that none of the teaching nuns had ever told them any such thing, and basically expressed dislike for the very idea. (Which is pretty much the reaction you’d expect from my mother to a new tradition! If I think something’s vaguely hinky, you can bet it strikes my mom about five hundred times worse.)🙂

OTOH, my mom did indicate that she was somewhat open to people wearing hats/veils in church again. That is, she didn’t swear eternal hatred of headcoverings today, and said that she’d far rather dig out her veils than her hats, because the veils and scarves wouldn’t crush her permed hair.🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Church, Pre-Vatican II Hats

One response to “The Old White Veil Rule

  1. Lucia Rosa

    I suspect the tradition (if it is such) has a lot to do with your mom’s. It has to do with matching your clothes; young girls probably typically wore more light colored, flowered dresses than their mothers and that’s the way it started. Of course nobody would be wearing that type of dress in the winter, and consequently no white lace veils; they would just keep on whatever they wore outside to keep out the cold–hat or scarf or whatever. That’s my theory.

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