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In Poland, are women and girls obligated to wear head scarves in church?


greystone
19 Jun 2016  #1
I read that in Russia, women and girls must cover their hair in church. But that's the Russian Orthodox Church. What about the Polish Catholic Church? Is it the same rule there as well?
mafketis 20 | 7,309
19 Jun 2016  #2
No. Most (almost all?) women in Poland do not make any effort to cover their hair in church.
jon357 63 | 14,134
19 Jun 2016  #3
It's no longer obligatory however some women choose to do so.
Czopek2
19 Jun 2016  #4
Mohair........
kpc21 1 | 763
20 Jun 2016  #5
The rule is that men should have uncovered hair. Women can have it covered but they don't have to, it's their choice. I have even a feeling that the general rule is to have uncovered hair, and there is an exception for women - as they are (or rather used to be in the past) considered somehow weaker, I don't know, easier to catch a cold, so the rule to have uncovered hair doesn't apply to them.
mafketis 20 | 7,309
20 Jun 2016  #6
I have even a feeling that the general rule is to have uncovered hair, and there is an exception for women - as they are (or rather used to be in the past) considered somehow weaker

No. The rule definitely used to be that were supposed to cover their head.

from the grandfather of all knowledge:

"The requirement that women cover their heads in church was introduced as a universal law for the Latin Rite of the Church for the first time in 1917 ...

... It was not specifically addressed in the 1983 revision of the Code, which declared the 1917 Code abrogated"

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_headcovering#Historic_Catholic_practice

At present almost no women in Poland cover their head in church (from what I've seen*). I remember at the funeral of JPII most of the women present (including foreign dignitaries) had some kind of covering, mostly semi-transparent lace.

*I'm not a believer so I don't make it to church much, though I sometimes do go for various reasons, and I'm in a larger more western oriented city
Paulina 9 | 1,448
20 Jun 2016  #7
What about the Polish Catholic Church? Is it the same rule there as well?

Nope, women in Catholic churches in Poland don't cover their heads. Unless it's winter and the church is not heated or sth then they could wear winter hats, I guess lol

Elderly women in the countryside quite often still wear headscarfs but they wear it all the time, no matter where they are.
terri 1 | 1,624
20 Jun 2016  #8
A little bit aside:
At one time women were not allowed to wear trousers in church, but all that has gone by the wayside.
Nowadays it is very hard to get any congregations in church (for whatever reasons), so rules, which were enforced years ago have had to be relaxed so that those women who wanted to wear trousers and be without hair covering are allowed to come in.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
20 Jun 2016  #9
At one time women were not allowed to wear trousers in church

In Poland?

Nowadays it is very hard to get any congregations in church

Not in my city ;)
Atch 17 | 2,877
20 Jun 2016  #10
mostly semi-transparent lace.

This is a mantilla. It's a Spanish custom but was very popular in Irish churches too, stopped during the 1980s. My aunt lived in Madrid and sent my mother some rather magnificent black lace ones but you could buy really cheap white ones that looked like a bit of old net curtain! A woman is still required to wear a mantilla if meeting the Pope, it has to be a black one I believe.
jon357 63 | 14,134
20 Jun 2016  #11
This is a mantilla.

You still see them used sometimes in Poland.

The thing about women covering their heads in church originated (as a specific rule) with St.Paul however that rule more likely reflects Christianity's roots as a Middle Eastern religion.
mafketis 20 | 7,309
20 Jun 2016  #12
that rule more likely reflects Christianity's roots as a Middle Eastern religion.

Of course, all the middle eastern religions have weird rules about head/hair covering (among the weirdest are the satmar orthodox jews where women wear wigs and are encouraged to spy on each other to make sure they keep their heads shaven). There are also crazy christian fundamentalists who believe in hair covering, but fortunately they're a small minority ignored by the more sensible majority (for the time being at least).
jon357 63 | 14,134
20 Jun 2016  #13
satmar orthodox jews

Not only satmarers, some of the more mainstream orthodox do too. There was a scandal in Lomdon a while back when a respected Rabbi declared wigs made from real hair to be non-kosher and the women went mad because they didn't want to wear plasticky ones.

Women covering heads outside the home has been a tradition in Europe too - my granny always wore a headscarf outside and headwear is common among older women in Eastern Europe. Increased car ownership and less time spent outside in cold weather has a lot to do with the habit disappearing.

And as a poster mentioned, there are the infamous mohair berets.
Englishman 2 | 278
20 Jun 2016  #14
At one time women were not allowed to wear trousers in church, but all that has gone by the wayside.

It must have been difficult to enforce that rule in Poland. I've noticed that Polish women hardly ever wear skirts and dresses, only trousers. BTW I've never understood why this is. Any ideas?
terri 1 | 1,624
20 Jun 2016  #15
When you wear a skirt or a dress, the fabric can stick to your bottom. A gust of wind can make you strike a Marilyn Monroe pose. Worse of all, there have been occasions when a skirt or a dress was tucked in inside undergarments (knickers in BrE, pants in AmE) which does not look nice, unless you've got fabulous legs and skimpy underwear.
Englishman 2 | 278
20 Jun 2016  #16
True, but the same could be said about women of every nationality. What I don't get is why hardly any Polish women wear skirts and dresses compared with other nationalities, especially given the Catholic heritage which used to include banning women from wearing trousers in church.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,681
20 Jun 2016  #17
there have been occasions when a skirt or a dress was tucked in inside undergarments

oh lordy i did that once in the pub, a long skirt tucked into tights.....the shame! the humiliation!
kpc21 1 | 763
20 Jun 2016  #18
Nowadays it is very hard to get any congregations in church (for whatever reasons), so rules, which were enforced years ago have had to be relaxed so that those women who wanted to wear trousers and be without hair covering are allowed to come in.

It's not like someone is checking how people are dressed up at the church entrance, and I don't believe it was so in the past. It's rather a kind of savoir vivre. Noone will throw you away from a church for, for example, having a hat on your hat (as a men) in a church. But they will consider you as having no respect to the church and to traditions.

The same is that in the past people usually dressed up their best and rather elegant clothes to the church, now it isn't so strict. I don't go to church every Sunday, but I don't think that seeing there people in shorts and T-shirts in summer is anything weird.
jon357 63 | 14,134
20 Jun 2016  #19
And remember that in Poland people often stand outside church during the service - a good option if you feel a little underdressed.

I've never really figured out why people stand outside, especially when the inside is far from full. I have theories, but...

Of course it shouldn't matter if you're dressed like a nun, a factory worker, a prostitute, in beach wear, in a Mr Blobby costume or looking like a stinking bag lady for that matter. I've even seen someone turn up to Sunday mass in a cathedral wearing a tin foil helmet although that wasn't in Poland.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
20 Jun 2016  #20
You still see them used sometimes in Poland.

Mantilla in Catholic churches in Poland? Really? Where? I've never seen it myself. Only on TV when some head of state is visiting the pope and their wives wear them then. Until Atch wrote about it I didn't even know what it's called ;)

The thing about women covering their heads in church originated (as a specific rule) with St.Paul however that rule more likely reflects Christianity's roots as a Middle Eastern religion.

Yes, this is the origin of this custom and it's still practiced in the Orthodox Church.

What I don't get is why hardly any Polish women wear skirts and dresses compared with other nationalities,

Really? I didn't know that. When I was visiting other countries in Europe I haven't noticed much difference. On the other hand when I'm visiting other countries I'm usually focused more on sightseeing rather than on checking what women are wearing so maybe that's the reason ;)

especially given the Catholic heritage which used to include banning women from wearing trousers in church.

To be honest I didn't even know there was such a ban. I'm not sure whether it was even enforced in Poland, I've never heard of such a thing. I also was never told what I'm supposed to wear when going to church, I always just knew that men should have their heads uncovered, while women can have them covered or not, as they wish (although during summer wearing a hat in a church would be usually seen as a bit strange and rather impolite, I think).

And in all honesty, wearing skirts to church can be a bit painful - you have to kneel from time to time either on cold floor or "footstool" on the bench, so it's better for your knees when you're in trousers.

Also, don't forget that Poland was a communist country for a half a century and all that "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" (Children, Kitchen, Church) and compulsory dressing skirts probably wouldn't go down well as some kind of official dogma for women ;)

As kpc21 wrote, the way you dress to church is rather a matter of common sense and savoir vivre, I don't think I've ever seen in Poland information placards like in Italy where it was shown what I kind of clothes aren't allowed - when I was in Italy some unfortunate tourists couldn't go to Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua because they weren't dressed in an appropriate way. I could go in because I had long trousers and short sleeves (I made up for this with some cleavage in order not to cook myself and some woman had to comment about that and I felt so embarrassed, I felt like some "wh0re of Babylon" for a few hours xD). For tourists it's a pain because you usually have to walk dressed like this for the rest of the day in the scorching Italian heat.

As for wearing skirts in general - it's as terri wrote - trousers are simply more practical for everyday use. Skirts and dresses can also wrinkle more easily and after a day of wearing it it doesn't look too good. In trousers you can sit in whatever way you like without worrying about showing your panties or the skirt going too high up when you're sitting or sitting on something dirty/cold, etc. I guess skirts and dresses can be seen as sth for more special occasions, when you want to look more elegant or more feminine.

Btw, it's not really why women wear trousers but it came to my mind that an additional bonus is that it's more difficult to rape a woman wearing trousers - there's more undressing, so, at least in theory, a woman has more time to try to escape or hit the rapist on the head with something.

So, yeah, jeans rule ;))
dolnoslask 5 | 2,436
20 Jun 2016  #21
"but it came to my mind that an additional bonus is that it's more difficult to rape a woman wearing trousers "

I am so saddened is this our society today that women have to think about what they wear in case they are raped.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,681
20 Jun 2016  #22
yes dolno, but the whole idea of skirts and dresses was to allow easier access to the vagina, wasnt it?
dolnoslask 5 | 2,436
20 Jun 2016  #23
skirts and dresses, access.

I have lived on this planet for 55 years , it never crossed my mind , I thought dresses were flouncy and would flatter a girls legs.

I used to wear tight tee shirts to show off my muscles and arms .

all of the above i thought was just kind of a mating ritual to show off , never thought about access to what you say, very crude , I think I will stay in my own lilly white bubble.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,681
21 Jun 2016  #24
sorry dolno if I have freaked you out but it is so. that was the whole point of women being supposed to wear dresses.
Lots of men have shapely legs too but they are not encouraged to show them off in a skirt are they?
well apart from the scots...:D
Paulina 9 | 1,448
21 Jun 2016  #25
yes dolno, but the whole idea of skirts and dresses was to allow easier access to the vagina, wasnt it?

I think that in the past when dresses were long and fairly wide it was also about hiding the shape of legs - if the fabric was wrapping around women's legs too closely it would, you know, provoke indecent thoughts in men lol

That's the whole point of the clothes for Muslim women after all - to hide the shape of the body. Abaya is not only loose but also made from a fabric heavy and stiff enough so that it wouldn't wrap around the woman's body and in this way show its shape.

well apart from the scots...:D

I always wondered whether they were wearing anything under those skirts ;D
jon357 63 | 14,134
21 Jun 2016  #26
Mantilla in Catholic churches in Poland? Really? Where?

On TV, occasionally in Warsaw but especially at the Mariavicki cathedral in Płock.

Yes, I know they're not RCC, but for some reason they still use them.

In parts of northern England, funeral companies used to provide them for mourners. I doubt that still happens (showing my age...)
Englishman 2 | 278
21 Jun 2016  #27
all that "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" (Children, Kitchen, Church) and compulsory dressing skirts probably wouldn't go down well

I guess that could be it. In comparison to other countries with a Catholic heritage, Poland is distinct in having been under Communist control for half a century, when equality between the sexes was a high priority and women did a lot of jobs that could not easily be done in skirts.

Also I know that Poland celebrates International Women's Day, which many countries don't, which suggests that Polish women are quite strongly feminist.

As I think feminism and gender equality are good things, I'm pleased that Polish women mostly wear jeans :-).
jon357 63 | 14,134
21 Jun 2016  #28
Abaya is not only loose but also made from a fabric heavy and stiff enough so that it wouldn't wrap around the woman's body and in this way show its shape.

This is true, but fashion is fashion and nowadays women (even in Saudi) sometimes get around the issue by buying ones that are a bit more shapely and flattering.

Also I know that Poland celebrates International Women's Day, which many countries don't, which suggests that Polish women are quite strongly feminist.

International Women's Day is quite big in most of the countries that had communist governments. People, even devout catholics, celebrate it now. People here like it.
Englishman 2 | 278
21 Jun 2016  #29
Wow - I thought only Polish people actively celebrated it in the general population, as opposed to among politicians and campaigners for feminism. I think it's a good thing, we should try it in the UK.

Keep to the topic please
Paulina 9 | 1,448
22 Jun 2016  #30
On TV, occasionally in Warsaw

But in Catholic churches?

but especially at the Mariavicki cathedral in Płock

Interesting, I didn't know that the tradition of wearing mantilla ever reached Poland.

This is true, but fashion is fashion and nowadays women (even in Saudi) sometimes get around the issue by buying ones that are a bit more shapely and flattering.

Yes, some of them are quite pretty even :)

I am so saddened is this our society today that women have to think about what they wear in case they are raped.

Well, you know, I think many women had at least one situation in their lives when they got scared and then the danger becomes more real and you start thinking how to prevent something bad from happening.

My own comment about the kilts reminded me of sth in this regard... ;P
Once when I was at highschool I was going back from my Listening Comprehension test for FCE, it was winter and I was wearing a long woolen skirt. It was already dark and cold and I wanted to get to the bus station as fast as possible so I decided to make a shortcut through some quite big desolate grassy area near a parking lot. There were no lights there and the ground turned out to be covered with ice but I was tired and just wanted to go back home already so I didn't turn away. When I was in the middle of that area I've noticed some man getting near in front of me. He looked like some homeless guy, a bum or someone of this sort, but in my experience so far they were harmless so I wasn't worried or anything. Probably that's why when he got near me and asked in a lewd, harsh voice destroyed by alcohol with some teeth missing in his wide grin: "What do you have under that skirt?" I freaked out so much that I slipped on the ice. Fortunately I managed to keep my balance and didn't fall but I got scared and I departed as fast as I could which wasn't easy because ice was everywhere and the skirt I was wearing was pretty narrow and I couldn't make bigger steps in it. I was moving with the grace of penguin Pik-Pok and the speed of a fly trying to get out of tar - I imagine it must've looked hilarious, but my heart was pounding :)

If it happened during daytime in a place full of people I most probably wouldn't freak out that much, but it did happen in such circumstances and for the first time in my life so when I got to the bus stop of course I started thinking how stupid I was to make that shortcut. And then my imagination started working and I thought that if that guy would want to rape me and I didn't manage to keep my balance and fell then that would be the end for me most probably. I've also realised that I wouldn't be able to run in that dress and that I would not only be able to run in trousers but also that it would be more difficult to take off jeans trousers then lift my skirt and take off or rip off my tights. So I guess it was that evening when it came to my mind that it's better to wear trousers in such situation. Also, I remember thinking that if I didn't wear a skirt maybe he wouldn't make that comment...

So my conclusions as a teenager from that evening were:
1. Never make shortcuts after dark through dark, desolate places.
2. You never know what to expect from a man so it's better to expect the worse just in case.
3. Skirts are "rape-friendly".
4. Skirts draw unwanted attention.

I never wore that skirt again lol

Pretty sure the OP was asking about head covering in church. Please get back to the topic


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