1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Black Veil

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BLACK VEIL, in the Roman Catholic Church, the symbol of the most complete renunciation of the world and adoption of a nun's life. On the appointed day the nun goes through all the ritual of the marriage ceremony, after a solemn mass at which all the inmates of the convent assist. She is dressed in bridal white with wreath and veil, and receives a wedding-ring, as spouse of the Church. Afterwards she presides at a wedding-breakfast, at which a bride-cake is cut. She thus bids adieu to all her friends, and having previously taken the white veil, the betrothal, she now assumes the black, and forever forswears the world and its pleasures. Her hair is cut short, and her bridal robes are exchanged for the sombre religious habit. Her wedding ring, however, she continues to wear, and it is buried with her.