Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Williams, Patricia. “Wreath and Cap to Veil and Apron: American Modification of a Slavic Ritual.” Contact, Crossover, Continuity: Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, September 22–24, 1994 (Los Angeles, CA: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1995), pp. 19–29.


Copyright © 1994 Patricia Williams


This paper explores a wedding custom practiced for more than one hundred years in the Chicago area by the descendants of Czech, Polish, and Slovak immigrant women. Through the custom's existence and perpetuation in America, the role of a transitional rite of passage is chronicled in both the process of assimilation and the preservation of ethnic heritage. The original textile symbols used in the ritual were modified to reflect the differences in culture in the United States but with the "echoes" of European folk tradition still heard. Chicagoans today have continued to modify the custom as the role of women changes, and in the process, have created a form of American textile folk art.