Like Mother Teresa said, nuns are living expressions of God’s kindness with kindness in their faces and smiles. Like not allowed to use smartphones and not allowed to eat delicious food, they sacrifice a lot which includes their dress code. But the best thing about it is, nun’s uniforms are recognizable when they go out in the streets where people identify them as nuns. And very importantly, the way their headwear covers up their hair along with vanity plays a very important role in their identity too. Let’s see what a nun’s hat is called and everything you need to know about them.
What Is a Nuns Hat Called?
A nun’s headdress is known as a veil, which includes all layers of clothing. The close-fitting cap which holds the headdress in place is called a coif. Sometimes it also comes with an old-fashioned type of head covering, which covers up the cheek and neck sides. It is called a whimple. A whimple is available in two styles, both structured and unstructured.
Why Do Nuns Cover Their Hair?
Almost in all cultures, a woman’s hair is considered to be the finest glory of her body. And so, wearing the veil is a traditional way of giving up vanity. And during churches and prayers, women’s heads need to be covered, and a veil does the job.
In the olden days before Vatican 2, nuns followed the practice of shaving their heads or cutting them short and covering them with veils.
Most importantly, nuns used to cover up their heads according to a commandment in the Bible which says “
Every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonors her head. It is the same as having her head shaved
.For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.– [1 Corinthians 11:3-10]
Think of Mary, Mother Of Jesus, we see in pictures in the churches and everywhere, dressed from head to toe except for face and hands.
All Type of Nun’s Hats and Headgears
Veils are the head covering which is worn pinned over the coif. According to SD Cason Catholic gallery, the type and color of the veil depend on the status of the sister or nun and from the habit of the order. When the novices and postulants wear a different color, the nuns and sisters wear a varied color. Presently, many orders of nuns wear a different way than the oldest traditional way.
- Franciscan sisters who have taken vows wear black veils, and noviates wear white veils.
- Salesian sisters wear simple grey dresses with white shoes.
- Sisters of St. Ann can wear a white, navy, and also a grey dress with a large, traditional silver cross as a necklace.
- Cistercian Nuns wear a black headdress which signifies consecration to god.
Does the flying nun come to your mind when you see the picture?
To be clear, this was old female headwear used by nuns until 1964. To be more precise, it is a whimple made up of large, stiff pieces of white cloth. It is designed in a way folded upwards, which creates the resemblance of horns on the nun’s head.
In 1800, it was commonly worn by the Parisian ladies, which is made up of Muslin and gauze and decorated with lace. The Cornette is still remembered as a distinctive style of nun’s hat into the modern times by daughters of charity.
St. Vincent Paul was the founder of Daughters of Charity, a Roman Catholic society of apostolic life in the mid 17th century. He wanted to have sisters who can look like ordinary class women in their clothing, including the wearing of a Cornette, and help the poor and sick.
Do Nuns Still Wear Cornettes?
No, according to the Daughters of Charity of ST. Vincent Paul, nuns, no longer wear Cornettes as part of their traditional wear after 1964.
Do Catholic Nuns Shave Their Heads?
During the olden days, catholic nuns used to shave their heads, but today most catholic nuns and sisters don’t shave their heads. Instead, nuns are expected to keep their hair short by cutting. When postulants become nuns, they get a haircut which is actually believed as devoting themselves to god and giving up their vanity.
What Hat Did Flying Nun Wear?
In 1967, the flying nun television series featured sister Bertrille, who could fly with a lightweight, thickly starched Cornette hat. When most sisters and nuns wear veils today, the nuns of the olden days used to wear a Cornette, which referred to a hat.
Why Is a Nun’s Attire Called a Habit?
The word habit refers to the clothing, but not to the regular clothing all of us wear. Clothing was the oldest meaning of the word “habit” but used only for nun’s habits and monk’s habits.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word habit was literally derived from the Latin word “ habitus,” which means the “state of being” or “condition.” The normal use of habit, which means the acquired mode of behavior, is a linguistic mistake. A habit refers to the “condition” to “how one conducts oneself” to “clothing.” Therefore, this is how a nun’s attire is called a habit.
If you search for the best people who ever live on the planet, it’s a sure thing that nun mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to helping the poor, will be already there! Nuns devote themselves to prayers, contemplating God, take care of the ill and elders, serve the poor and teach the children.
What do you think they receive in turn for their helping hands? The heartwarming satisfaction when someone who has never met them before calls them a sister. And their similarity of “habit” and the nun’s hat plays a huge role in this. Say veil, when someone asks you what a nun’s hat is called.