Thursday, October 1, 2009

All Covered Up

So I've recently been fascinated with women who cover themselves. The topic has always been around (meaning I've seen people who cover their heads), but I've just let it drift off. I've even taught a lesson on modesty to high school Catholics. Lately it has been more in my face, so to speak. Recently a group that I belong to is throwing a baby shower for an immigrant from Iraq. We had a discussion about modesty and why she would cover her head. This led me thinking that maybe I should cover my head when around her. It would be out of respect to her. I thought, well it wouldn't be too out of the ordinary for an American to cover her head. Hopefully she won't take it as mockery, right?

So to defend the idea of covering my head to myself, I started thinking about how covering my head is also a part of my culture. I come from Polish heritage so I know they cover their heads (it's really cold there). I'm Catholic and until the 60s, Catholics covered their heads to worship. So I started from there. I began googling head covering and this is what I came across.

Islam is not the only major religion that has women who cover their head. In fact in most major religions, head covering is totally normal. Orthodox Jewish women cover their heads with snoods. Christian women also cover their head. It used to be very common, but until the last century has slowly fallen out of favor. Christian head coverings range from wearing scarves to hats. Although most women who follow a mainstream Protestant faith don't wear head gear, other groups do and are encouraged to. Some of these are Pentecostals. Catholics also have head gear. Usually it is chapel veils or mantilla. Heck, you can't see the Pope without wearing one (check out Michelle Obama's recent visit with the Pontiff).

It seems for most Christian coverers there is a wide range of when and where to cover. Some choose to cover only during services; others during individual prayer and services. Some cover only in public and others cover all the time. A majority of the people are experimenting. It's often hard to break the mainstream and norm. There is a lot of negativity associated with head covering. Many Christians are mistaken for Muslims or are told that it shows subservience to men. To me head covering it a choice, just like how you dress is.

Speaking of dress, head covering comes in many styles and colors. I've mentioned some: scarves, hats, veils, wide head bands, bandannas, ect. And it's actually very easy to find trendy styles on the internet to buy. There is also how you wear them. I didn't know that there were so many ways to wear a scarf on your head. Check out Catholic Hijabi and Garlands of Grace for a few ideas.

So in my research, I've totally decided head covering is pretty cool. Now will I cover my head; I don't know. I have a few scarves and bandannas tucked away, but today I brought a few out and tried out these new ways to wear them. I was home alone and figured it was safe for me to be a little silly and cover my head in different ways while scrubbing the toilet. In any case, I have a new appreciation for modesty and head covering. Most likely I will cover my head for the baby shower. Perhaps after a few days of cleaning with head gear, I may get brave and wear one to my "happy clappy" church. Why I call it my "happy clappy" church is another blog, but it suffices to say that for a Catholic church we have a lot of people in tank tops and waving their arms in the air and clapping to the music. This is something I've never experienced before. I'm sure that I would top their strange list if I showed up to Mass with my head covered, but then I might fit in just fine. This is something I'll have to ponder.

And for you to ponder: Did my blog teach you something new about head covering?, What do think when you first meet someone who covers their head?, Would you consider covering your head for your own service?

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!