A question from a reader: "I wonder why you wear a head covering now that you are married? Is it a Jewish tradition or is it for religious reasons?"
I thought this might be asked, and I can say that it is for both reasons you've mentioned - the Jewish religion commands a married woman to cover her hair, plus it's a beautiful tradition; I must add, though, that nowadays it isn't always strictly observed in Jewish communities. Some married women cover their hair only partially, and some only cover their hair in synagogue.
In Biblical times, women covered their hair as a sign of modesty and chastity, and the unveiling and loosening of a woman's hair was used as a sign of humiliation, in cases when a woman was suspected of adultery. (Numbers 5, 11-28)
Since I've become observant, it was always obvious to me that I'm going to cover my hair when I'm married, out of modesty and as a sign of being married; in the weeks prior to our wedding, though, I received various comments such as, "there's no way you are going to manage with a long hair such as yours"; "if you intend to cover all your hair, you must cut off at least half of it"; "you are going to see that head coverings will make you feel extremely hot and uncomfortable"; and even "you are going to look so much worse without your pretty hair showing".
Well, I must say, none of these glum predictions are true! Like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, it's actually pretty simple: I just roll my hair up in a bun and tie a head scarf around it. Those who first see me now can't even guess how long my hair actually is. It's sleek and not very thick, so I can manage it easily. Putting on a hair covering doesn't take much time, either. In fact, if I'm in a hurry and don't have time to brush my hair in the morning, it actually saves me time!
Also, keeping my hair up leaves my neck open, which means I feel less, not more hot than I normally did when I wore my hair down. And I don't think I look that bad with my hair covered - in fact, my husband says he loves the way I look wearing a head scarf, and that's what matters. Of course a woman's hair is pretty and beautiful - which is why I uncover mine in front of no man but my beloved husband, as a sign of my belonging to him, and him alone, now that we are married.
For more on why Jewish women cover their hair, read here and here.
PS: In some strict Orthodox Jewish communities, it is common for women to wear sheitls (wigs). There is a certain debate around this issue; some rabbis say wigs are the best option for hair covering, because they make it easier to cover all of the woman's hair than, let's say, a hat or head scarf, which usually leaves at least a few hairs sticking out here and there. Others say it's better to wear a hat or head scarf, because then it's easier to see right away that the woman is married. Strictly speaking, according to Jewish Law, we are only commanded to cover our hair and it isn't specified how - so both options are valid. Personally I choose head scarves. I do love being "marked" as a married woman, but there are also the considerations of style, price (wigs are awfully expensive) and convenience (I think a head scarf made of a light, breathing material is optimal in the summer heat).