What are Veils?
The first time I heard of the word veil was at an aunt‘s wedding. I was nine. When the priest said; lift up her veil, I turned to my mom and asked; what is a veil? She looked at me and answered with a glorious smile, she said; a veil is something every girl wears on the most important day of her life. Now, I fell in love, and had a longing for this piece of cloth. I would imagine myself wearing one, sometimes a black one. Fast forward to years later, I began to see this veil in a different way, so I decided to make a little research on the origin of veils.
Origin of Veils
I found out that, it was worn by the ancient Egyptian brides on their wedding day, to distinguish them (the brides) from evil spirits lurking around. As years passed, more histories surfaced, and numerous things developed a change in meaning the veil itself began to mean different things to different people.
Meaning of Veils to Christians
To Christians, the veil signifies chastity and purity of a bride, i.e. the veil signifies the fact that the groom has not touched/had sex with the bride, so it is some kind of covering that explains the phrase; "he has not known her"
Meaning of Veils to Muslims
The Muslim women wear veils (hijab) even at home; it is a form of respect to older men out and in the woman’s family, and a sort of reverence to their husbands. So many people argue that it is demeaning and opressing to muslim women, but these women have always stood their ground, defending their beliefs at all cost.
Traditional Meaning of Veils
In some cultures, the groom is not supposed to see his soon-to-be-bride’s face; it is some sort of a bad omen they believe, so the bride wears a veil. Even in the bible, leah (rebekah's sister) wore a veil that prevented jacob from seeing her face. However, in all these findings, there is a constant fact. A girl right from birth is under a supposed covering, and on her wedding, her husband, lifts this covering and the whole world begins to see her. Nevertheless, I found this hypocritical and ironical.
The Woman's Veil
My sister, whom before she got married, would never leave the house without the proper matching outfit, shoes to go, perfect carved eyebrow, that sort of thing. I visited her during the holidays, and we wanted to go to the supermarket—which was one of her favorite places— she wore a not-so-bad-gown and a sandal that I could not comprehend. No make-up, she was unrecognizable to me. When I asked her why she was dressed so casually, she answered with a disturbing question that got me irritated; "who is looking at me?"
It seems to me that in the eyes of the society, right after birth, us girls become some sort of a commodity; advertising our products, grooming ourselves, just passing time and looking good for the perfect/highest bidder who comes around and relieve our parents of us. Then, we go into some sort of “veil” and decide that, marriage is the end of it all. Society then decides that our lives revolve around our husbands.
This discovery did not only make me sad, it made my love for veils wax cold. The fact that us girls are like fleeting beings to the society makes me want to tug my skin. Now when I think of veils, I remember that I am no longer nine, and somehow, and maybe someday, someone would want me to wear one, and it wouldn't be "on the most important day of my life"