Colleen Houck


“One heartbeat passed and then another, and the moment felt hot and frozen at the same time. Then he smiled, and it was sunshine and heat and unspoken promises wrapped in a single expression.” Tiger's Promise

Colleen's blog


  • The meaning and Beauty of the Veil

    February 11, 2014


    The lady shadowed in veil

    best veiled statue

    Consider the white veiling of the bride or the black veil in mourning, a nun who takes on the veil or a woman disguising her identity for secret purposes, or even that of a religious woman concealed in veils of various designs and colors.

    Throughout history, the veil has held reverent symbolism and status. It seems as though the tradition of veils stems from the ancient European cultures (Hittites, Greeks, Romans and Persians) and was associated with circumstance and position. The earliest recorded instance of women wearing veils is found in the 13th century BC. There are references in various literature describing women in high status as being adorned with sheer veils covering the hair and at times, the face.

    200s-03-Rome

    200s Rome

    300s-Rome

    300’s Rome

    greek pic of veiled woman

    As some of these traditions loosened and women in lower classes began adopting the practice of wearing veils, the clothing became more associated with modesty and gender. If a married woman did not cover her hair with a veil, she was open to ridicule as being indecent and loose.

    1500's France

    1500’s France

    1400's Germany

    1400’s Germany

    1500's veils

    1500’s veils

    mid-evil era

    medieval era

     

    American Duchess

    American Duchess

    The tradition of veiled women in religion came into play later in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These various religions interpreted their own scriptures that a woman should be veiled to show respect and reverence for their Lord. In the Christian world, the veil is often used in prayer and when attending church. For the Muslim religion, it is not only worn as a symbolic gesture, but is also part of the Islamic culture, and in some places, required by law to this day.

     

    Mary-and-Baby-Jesus

    Mary with Christ child

    Catholic Virgin Mary statue

    Catholic Virgin Mary statue

    1600s Young Puritan reading bible

    1600s Young Puritan reading bible

     

    Veiling of the nuns

    Veiling of the nuns

     

    Islamic women in mid-evil times

    Islamic women in medieval times

    The veiling of the bride has been a tradition for centuries and is rooted in the idea that the bride is vulnerable to enchantment, and as such, must be hidden from evil spirits. Romans veiled brides in flame-colored veils to scare off those spirits. The wedding veil was changed to white at a later point and symbolizes a woman’s purity (virginity).

    Ancient roman wedding attire

    Ancient roman wedding attire

    Red wedding veil

    Red wedding veil

     

    Princess Diana wedding veil

    Princess Diana wedding veil

    The veiling of the widow has different rules of etiquette based on culture and time period. It seems the custom of wearing black and having black veils stems from Europe. It is quite interesting that every social culture at some point had a set of “rules” for a person to mourn including days to mourn, when it is OK to re-enter society, when normal clothes may be worn again and so forth. I thought it interesting that some cultures wear different colors, for example, in India it is traditional for attendees of a funeral to wear all white where-as in some parts of Asia, they wear bright colors such as indigo and ruby red.

    mourning-veils

    black-veil

    India mourning in white attire

    India mourning in white attire

    Scarves and veils of different colors and styles have been customary in countless cultures throughout the world’s history.

    What does all of this talk about veils have to do with Colleen Houck or about Tiger’s Curse you might ask? Well as you know, Ren and Kishan are Indian princes and their traditions and values are rooted in the heart of India. Many of the customs hinted at in the Tiger’s Curse series include the beautiful clothing of the women in India and of their rich fabrics and colors. Let’s learn just a little about the various types of veils worn in these Indian cultures.

    Clothing is never without meaning and even to this day, head coverings play a significant role.

    First, there is the hijab. It is the most popular veil worn in the West. These veils consist of one or two scarves covering both the head and neck. Outside the West, this traditional veil is worn by many Muslim women in the Arab world and beyond.

    Hijab

    Hijab

    The niqab is another style that covers the entire body, head and face with an opening for the eyes. There are two main styles, the niqab and the half-niqab which consists of a headscarf and facial veil that leaves eyes and part of the forehead visible. These are most common in the Gulf States. There is some political debate of the wearing of this veil within Europe.

    Niqab

    Niqab

    The chador is a full body length shawl held closed at the neck by hand or a pin. It covers the head and body but leaves the face completely visible. Most often, these are worn in the Middle East, specifically in Iran and are black in color.

    chador

    chador

     The burqa is a full body veil and covers the entire face and body. There is a mesh screen over the eyes and is most commonly worn in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan (1996-2001), its use was mandated by law.

    burqa

    burqa

    veil-burqas_full

    Whether wearing the veil for cultural or religious reasons, or required by law, they have been seen as many things; reverent symbolism of humility and honor, modesty, beauty, mystery, or that of control, punishment, repressing women, etc. Despite these symbolic meanings to the world, we can see many numerous styles of dress throughout the world today which reflects local traditions and makes a statement of personal values (whether one thinks it does or not).

    There is an undeniable beauty in the rich colors and fabrics worn by these women in veils. And… I’ll let you in on a little secret. Veils will play a big role in Houck’s soon to be “unveiled” secret project,

    gorgeous veiled woman

    brown sheer veil covering all but eyes

    the-red-veil

    red veil

    black and gold veil

    purple veil

    beautiful veil fabric

    I hope you enjoyed this short history about the meaning and beauty of the veil and the women that wear them.

    ~Till next time,

    Linda Louise

    This entry was posted in Articles.

    4 Responses to The meaning and Beauty of the Veil


    Leave a Reply



    Categories
    Archive
    Author Bio
    Linda
    Linda

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.