Accepted as the appropriate funeral etiquette in the West for centuries, wearing black to a funeral as a colour of mourning has become the traditionalists response to the passing of a loved one. However, in many cultures across the World, this isn’t the case, with colours of mourning ranging from yellow and gold to white and purple. Below, we provide a guide to colours of mourning and offer historical insight into why we continue to wear black to traditional funerals to this day.
Why Do We Wear Black To Funerals?
In Western culture, wearing black to funerals has been a long-standing tradition, to show your respect and sorrow at the passing of a loved one. But where, exactly, did this tradition begin? Below, we dig a little deeper into the origins of wearing black funeral attire and offer insight into how this has changed over time.
Incredibly; historians have traced the tradition of wearing black to funerals as far back as the time of the Roman Empire, with many Ancient Romans swapping out the white toga for a dark one, known as a toga pulla, in order to mourn the loss of a loved one. This tradition continued throughout mediaeval times in England, where women were expected to wear black caps and veils when their husbands passed away.
During the reign of Queen Victoria, (1837-1901), the tradition of wearing black to funerals became ever more present in society. Upon the passing of a popular duke, Queen Victoria showed her respect by wearing a black mourning gown, made specifically for the occasion. As a fashion icon for England and the rest of the World, this became an accepted trend across Western society.
Colours Of Mourning
Following on from the Victorian era, into the 20th century, women were expected to dress in “mourning colours” for up to four years after the passing of their husband. This would often involve wearing traditional black dress for an entire year, before colours such as purple and grey are introduced for the remaining three. In many cultures across the world, colours of mourning are quite different, below we take a closer look at the different colours of mourning found across the World.
Portrayed as a symbol of both purity and innocence, white is used as a colour of mourning in Hindu traditions. In Western cultures, however, white is often worn by children, signifying their youth and innocence. White is also often worn if the deceased were a child, with many women accompanying their traditional black with white accessories to show their respect.
In Egypt, yellow has been the accepted colour of mourning for centuries, associating their colours of mourning with that of the sun. At
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