Hellenic “veiling”

As a Hellenic woman who veils, or covers in traditional fashion, I am most interested of course in those methods which are Hellenic. While hair covering itself seemed to vary in practice, and from all artistic evidence, wasn’t particularly mandated, it certainly did occur and so when I take up this practice I try to keep to the Hellenic manner in my daily life (though I do play with other styles from time to time). The outer clothing of women that can be implimented for this are broken down pretty much into three groups.

1) The hair covering. This ranges from a more wide head-band style, to a full tichel-type style that varies which is found both in images of women and also on goddesses. The amount of hair which is covered for all intensive purposes seems that it was pretty much determined as much as whether or not to do so at all. After all you will find images of women with their hair covered in company of women with uncovered hair. Therefore I am certainly not mandating that anyone *should* do this, but that historically the practice is in place that can be used if a modern Hellenic women feels the desire to institute those practices in her life.

















2) Perhaps the most well known outer covering for a Hellenic woman is the himation, but it seems to sometimes be mistaken for a shorter shawl-like covering. Or perhaps these are both called himation but differ significantly in their style. The reason I say is that I have seen most people liken the himation to the Indian dupatta, but in typical styles the dupatta is too short with the exception of a selection of a few styles in which a smaller cloth seems to be used in an abbreviated style in which a dupatta sized cloth would hang crossed over the chest..perhaps for convenience of use. It could then be liften up easily to cover the head and shoulders when needed. I have seen women in photos from Hellas during ritual who use something akin to a shawl draped over their head and wrapped loosely about the shoulders. So this second peice would be a kind of abbreviated himation or dupatta/shawl. From what I gather its use would have been more for additional warmth like the men’s cloak.













3) The himation is something much more of size of the Indian sari and was worn to hang in long folds down the body of the woman, often hanging low on the hip or thigh. This same himation could be gathered up to be wrapped in a conceiling fashion around the body. I would consider the himation to also be the most religious attire as we see scenes, such as the one with the Pythia in which the himation is gathered up and draped over the head as she gives an oracle. Doubtlessly not everyone did so in prayer, since we have differing images unlike Roman religion in which covering the head was done uniformly in prayer. But the use of the himaton in religious practice is one that we do have evidence for as per the Pythia. Of course it is plausible that it was common for women in general to pull their himation up when go outside of their homes, just as Roman women did.


2 thoughts on “Hellenic “veiling”

  1. I’ve always been drawn to the sort of wrapping done in that second image, and often wished I had thick enough hair to not make it look stupid! Ultimately, my decision on what style to wear came down to: what wouldn’t trigger migraines on pressure points on my head. *lol*

    • yeah I have trying to figure out exactly how to do that too lol! The best I can figure is that it is a head-band like cloth that is perhaps twisted in the middle (because I have seen examples of this where it is more like a cloth headband). But that is really my best guess.
      There are certainly things I also have to keep in mind when covering. The shape of my ears sometimes makes certain styles uncomfortable for one, and I also get pressure headaches with other styles. So whatever is comfy is what I tend to go with 🙂

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