Covering Head During Pooja
The tradition of covering the head during prayers has been practiced for generations. The ritual has been followed more religiously in North India than in South India.
A theory suggested by spiritual leaders is that it improves concentration on the religious proceedings. Initially, the practice was followed by both men and women.
Specifically for Married Women
The idea behind wearing a veil during prayers is a mark of respect, gratitude and humility towards the divine. Hindu married women were expected to cover their head in front of their father-in-law and ancestors as a similar form of respect.
In most places only married women cover their heads. Some believe that this is done to convey the message that these women should be treated with more respect and be considered equivalent to their mother.
There is no mention of women covering their heads in any of the Hindu texts, let alone that it is mandatory during prayers.
In ancient India, women went out without veils or cover.
North India vs South India
Interestingly, the Northern regions followed this practice, but women in the Southern regions never covered their heads, indicating that the practice did not originate in Hindu traditions.
In most religions, the main reason why women would cover their heads is because of the concept of modesty. It is believed that when a woman covers herself, she is less likely to get noticed by other men.
While the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have differences, they also have some common practices – one of which is the head covering for women to signify spiritual submission to God.
Mughal Rule in the North
Head covering is more prevalent in northern parts of India. These parts were more susceptible to the rule of the Mughals, and thus many of the abrahamic ideologies became a part of the life for Hindus in these areas.
Necessity Turned To Tradition
It can be said that the practice of covering the head came up due to the bad intentions of men. Women were made to cover themselves from every male apart from their husband.
The significance of covering the head came into existence in the medieval period. It was born out of necessity. The tradition is still followed today, sometimes becoming an imposition on women.
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