Why People Wear Black to a Funeral

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, April 2, 2018

In most parts of the world today, it is customary to wear black or dark clothing to a funeral or wake. This practice is commonplace today, but throughout history and across many cultures, this has not always been the case. 

In the ancient cultures, funeral colors varied by region, and were usually much lighter. The ancient Egyptians wore yellow, while the Persians of the time chose brown. Ancient Syrian wore light blue attire to their burials. The ancient Chinese people often wore white while in mourning. 

During the Roman Empire, families would wear dark robes and togas to show that they were in mourning. Towards the middle ages, commoners would wear somber clothes and sometimes shawls, but the colors were often non-specific. Those of certain christian faiths, or royalty would often wear purple. 

During the Renaissance era, black became more popular for mourning; eventually becoming the common fashion for funerals. Special dresses, jewelry, and headdresses were even sold specifically for women’s funeral attire.

Today, most people wear black or dark, formal clothing to a funeral in America; mainly because the tradition of wearing black is mainly a Christian one. The exception to this would be Buddhist and Hindu funeral, where mourners traditionally wear white. Traditionally, Muslim funeral attendees are asked to wear more neutral colors and to forgo flashy jewelry. The modest clothing traditions are generally encouraged as well. 

For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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