I have been trying to piece together how we lost our hats.
First, there was the Vatican II press debacle. I distinctly remember that before Vatican II every woman wore a hat in church. That's because the Church made women wearing hats a rule in 1917. Before that they didn't have to have a rule because no self respecting woman would even leave the house without her hat and gloves. Now we're lucky if the girl has anything we could clothing on at all.
Then, I remember that everyone seemed to think that Vatican II took away the hat rule. But I have to wonder if people weren't entirely sure about the hat rule or that mantillas had become the Mass going fashion rage or what.
I have a theory about the mantilla rage. Women didn't have a fancy hat to wear in those days except at Easter. What most women wore to Mass back then was a bandanna. Everyone showed up at Mass looking like Polish peasants. We're talking about 60's hair now. Bandannas flatten out your hair...mantillas do not...problem solved. Which is very ironic considering why women had to wear a hat in church in the first place.
Because what I DO remember is that we went from hats, to bandannas and scarves, to mantillas, to the chapel veil.
I should say the mis-named chapel veil. There is no veil involved. The chapel doily, let's call it. Grandma's across the globe wondered what happened to all their decorative end table lace for at least ten years.Going from the mantilla to the chapel doily caused all hell to break loose in the head covering choices. It seems the chapel doily gave women free reign to slap whatever they could find in their purses on their heads as long as a bobby pin would hold it on there: Kleenex, placemats, the church bulletin, whatever they could grab.
And then suddenly ...no hats.
I'm not 100% sure here, but I think the hats flew out the window because the church stopped the hat rule in 1983. I 'm not sure if the church actually said women don't have to wear hats anymore or they simply didn't put the hat rule on the list. But since 1983 there has been no rule about hats in church.
I think that was a good way to leave things, considering there were women sitting in church with night table decor on their heads and Grandma at home wringing her hands. The whole thing had gotten out of hand.
Why did women cover their heads in the first place? Because a woman's hair was her crowning glory so she covered her head in church to show humility to God. That's why nuns cut off their hair more or less permanently.
How we got from that to your Easter bonnet is not hard to figure out, given the opportunity to have to go shopping for something suitable to wear to Mass. But by the time we get to women in church looking like Geronimo, it's time to cut bait, as they say. Let it go.
If you want to wear something to show humility, go for it. Just don't show up looking like Cochise. And don't go leaving Grandma's furniture naked.