Why We Wear Black to a Funeral

wearing black to a funeralIt’s long been an accepted tradition at most funerals that men, women and children wear black (or dark navy) to the service in order to show that they are in mourning for the deceased. When we’re preparing to go to a funeral or memorial service, we push right past the pink, yellow, blue or green dresses or shirts and pull out our darkest attire. But have you ever stopped to think why we do this? Why do we wear black to funerals?

The easy answer is to say that we wear black because that’s just always the way it’s been done. And, well, that’s the truth, but there has to be a history to it, right? There has to be a reason why we wear black instead of green or brown. In fact, the tradition of wearing black during periods of mourning dates back to the Roman Empire, when the family of the deceased would wear what was called a Toga pulla made of dark-colored wool.

Many people believe that the reason black is the color of choice at funerals is due to the symbolic equivalents of black and death. Whereas black is the absence of all color and light, death is the absence of all life. Black is so dark that no color can permeate through and create a new color. Black is permanence, as is death. This is more than likely why this color has become synonymous with death and mourning.

At least in the West it has. Many countries in Africa actually consider white to be the appropriate color to wear to a funeral. What about you? What colors would you like to see worn at your funeral?

 

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