- One explanation is that it is a relic of the days when a groom would throw a blanket over the head of the woman of his choice and carry her away.
- In some cultures, the veil is worn to protect the bride from evil spirits that may be nearby.
- The veil symbolized possession in many cultures, with the groom lifting it to signify his acceptance of her.
- Also, a flowing white veil is traditionally a sign of virginity, taken from ancient times when brides wore long hair down their backs to symbolize wholesomeness.
Many wedding veil traditions, especially in the West, have more religious origins.
- In ancient Judaism unveiling during the ceremony symbolizes that the bride gives herself to the groom.
- In the story of Jacob in the Old Testament, Jacob is tricked into marrying one sister, when his true love was the other. The bride’s heavy veil was not raised until after the union was complete.
The latter story is one of the reasons for a sheer, see-through veil. Though her face is covered, the groom will be reassured that he is marrying the bride of his choice.
Wedding attire mimicked current fashion until the mid-1900s, with veils coming and going (at times in history veils were worn by ladies for privacy or to protect their faces from dirty air).
Whatever its origin, today it is worn as a symbol of purity and joy. Your father may lift your veil, and present you to your new husband at the altar, or your husband may lift it after the ceremony for the first married kiss. It is considered a sign of your independence if you lift it yourself.