Why do people in mourning wear black?

The funeral rituals They have been practiced long before the civilizations best known to man today. For example, Neanderthals are known to have intentionally buried their dead for about 130,000 years. As for humans, we have been burying ourselves for the last 100,000 years.


The first to wear dark clothing in mourning, at least as historical records indicate, seems to begin with the ancient Romans, whose civilization dates back to 753 BC. C. They wore a special dark wool robe called a toga flea (as opposed to the better known, white toga virillis) in moments of mourning, or on occasions of protest, such as when protesting a senatorial decision.

Types of mourning attire in the West began to appear in Europe during the Middle Ages. In a society with a strict hierarchy, his fashion reflected his social stratification. Also It was during this period that widows began to wear veils.

In the middle of the 19th century, when Prince Albert of Great Britain died (1861) and Queen Victoria adopted mourning as her widow, the rest of society wanted to follow her, functioning as a highly visible status symbol; indeed, many of his subjects continued to wear mourning clothing well beyond the period regulated out of respect for their monarch.

Mourning family

It was also during the Victorian era that the length of time for wearing mourning clothing was more or less established in the West. While not universally followed, a widow was expected to observe a period of «complete mourning» for a year after death, and this included wearing only opaque clothing and a veil over her face when leaving home. The following year, she would be in «half mourning,» and she could wear colors as bright as mauve and purple, as well as a little jewelry. The parents and children of the deceased were expected to wear dark, opaque mourning clothing for two years.

While all of this may seem too restrictive, it at least worked as a way for people to wordlessly convey their pain, and those around would know from seeing them that they should empathize with them.


Over time, these rules have been relaxed considerably. But even in the 1960s, many of these ancient traditions were still practicedSuch as avoiding parties and public dinners for at least a year, and although certain activities, such as sports, were allowed, the afflicted were expected to wear somber colors.

Today, while the rules have been drastically lowered regarding what is appropriate for mourning, attending a funeral in the West is still expected to wear certain clothing, usually black or another dark color, unless the funeral organizers request that it dress in a particular way.