What is a veil?
A veil is an article of clothing or hanging cloth that is intended to
cover some part of the head or face.
What is a wedding?
A wedding is a ceremony where two people or a couple are united in
Some cultures have adopted the traditional Western custom of the
"white wedding", in which a bride wears a white wedding dress and veil.
This tradition was popularized through the marriage of Queen Victoria.
Some say Victoria's choice of a white gown may have simply been a sign
of extravagance, but may have also been influenced by the values she
held which emphasized purity.
What is a bridal veil?
In the 19th century, wedding veils came to symbolize the woman's
virginity and modesty. The tradition of a veiled bride's face continues
even today wherein, a virgin bride, especially in Christian or Jewish
culture, enters the marriage ritual with a veiled face and head, and
remains fully veiled, both head and face, until the ceremony concludes.
After the full conclusion of the wedding ceremony, either the bride's
father lifts the veil giving the bride to the groom who then kisses her,
or the new groom lifts her face veil in order to kiss her, which
symbolizes the groom's right to enter into conjugal relations with his
Significance of the wedding veil in Judaism
In Judaism, the tradition of wearing a veil dates back to biblical
times. According to the Torah in Genesis 24:65, Isaac is brought Rebekah
to marry by his father Abraham's servant. It is important to note that
Rebekah did not veil herself when traveling with her lady attendants and
Abraham's servant and his men to meet Isaac, but she only did so when
Isaac was approaching. Just before the wedding ceremony the badeken or
bedeken is held. The groom places the veil over the bride's face, and
either he or the officiating Rabbi gives her a blessing. The veil stays
on her face until just before the end of the wedding ceremony – when
they are legally married according to Jewish law – then the groom helps
lift the veil from off her face.
The most often cited interpretation for the badeken is that,
according to Genesis 29, when Jacob went to marry Rachel, his father in
law Laban tricked him into marrying Leah, Rachel's older and homlier
sister. Many say that the veiling ceremony takes place to make sure that
the groom is marrying the right bride. Some say that as the groom places
the veil over his bride, he makes an implicit promise to clothe and
protect her. Finally, by covering her face, the groom recognizes that he
his marrying the bride for her inner beauty; while looks will fade with
time, his love will be everlasting. In some ultra-orthodox traditions
the bride wears an opaque veil as she is escorted down the aisle to meet
her groom. This shows her complete willingness to enter into the
marriage and her absolute trust that she is marrying the right man. In
Judaism, a wedding is not considered valid unless the bride willingly
consents to it.
In ancient Judaism the lifting of the veil took place just prior to
the consummation of the marriage in sexual union. The uncovering or
unveiling that takes place in the wedding ceremony is a symbol of what
will take place in the marriage bed. Just as the two become one through
their words spoken in wedding vows, so these words are a sign of the
physical oneness that they will consummate later on. The lifting of the
veil is a symbol and an anticipation of this.
Significance of the wedding veil in Christianity
In Christian theology, St. Paul's words concerning how marriage
symbolizes the union of Christ and His Church may underlie part of the
tradition of veiling in the marriage ceremony. In this respect,
veiling may signify the waters of baptism, with the wedding dress (&
veil) being but a larger version of the First Communion dress (& veil),
which in turn is but a larger version of a baby's baptismal garment,
which is the distinguishing garment of all Christians, signifying the
presence of Sanctifying Grace and the Holy Spirit. At an even
deeper level, the waters of baptism themselves symbolize the waters of
death, which must be accepted in faith, and passed through, before truly
complete joy can be experienced in Heaven. In this respect, the
religious veil is a reminder to the bride that she is dying to her
previous life, and being admitted to a new kind of life, symbolic of
eternal life in Heaven. For this reason, nuns are veiled—often with a
black veil—with the veil not merely signifying the veil of death, but
actually—in some real way—being that veil, since they will one day be
buried in it. The wedding veil is also a symbol of the veil of faith in
Jesus Christ, the Heavenly bridegroom, that He will one day come and
redeem our mortal bodies, by the lifting of that veil, so that we shall
see Him face to face in Heaven. Sacred virgins receive not the
religious veil - unless they are also nuns - but a bridal veil because
they are espoused to Christ in the solemn rite of Consecration of
Virgins. The consecrated virgins' veil has always symbolized being a
bride of Christ and the indissoluble nuptial bond the sacred virgin
enjoys with Christ. Lastly, the wedding dress, either with, or even
without a veil, may be a symbol of the radiance of the resurrected body
in Heaven, which will not be a mortal body, but which will have been
changed "in the twinkling of an eye" into something new that we cannot
now even imagine.
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Complete your stunning bridal look with the perfect wedding veil.
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