How did the black veil become associated with married women?
Below is a photo that I took of the widow's veil at the Louisiana State Museum on Jackson Square in New Orleans. You can see how it is meant to cover the face and undoubtably the tears of the woman who wore it.
The widows veil of mourning.
A widow in mourning was required to wear black for about one to two years after the death of her husband. So say for example the woman was widowed and she began the morning process of wearing black. If during that year another family member died, she would begin the full morning all over again from the very beginning.
In those times, people were forced to face death far more frequently. So it's easy to see how in days gone by, it wasn't unusual for an adult woman to spend most of her life wearing black, what with the number of casualties from the Civil War, the lack of advanced medicine and the sheer number of diseases that were prevalent in those days. In those days, couples would have large families and they would hope that some of their children would survive to adulthood. But sadly many children didn't make it.
"The wearing of black is a custom that has been used for centuries. it dates back to a time when death was feared and wearing black was thought to make mourners draw less attention to themselves so that death would not claim them as its next victim. Mourning rituals were directly aimed at women, especially widows."
Nowadays women wear whatever color they prefer to chapel, married or not. But even in modern times black is still the traditional color worn at funerals. Who could ever forget the black veil Jacqueline Kennedy wore to her husband's funeral?