Long before black became the chosen colour for fashion labels, it was used as an exclusive colour for mourning. The idea of wearing black in case of mourning a deceased relative or friend or a family member arose in the Roman Empire, where a cloth was made up of wool or cotton and was dyed black in order to be used for the mourning.
Throughout the Middle Ages and even during the period of Renaissance, it was considered to be one of the dresses to be worn during and after the loss of a loved one.
During the classical age and before, women and specially widows were encouraged to wear full black clothing during the full period of mourning. This dress could be made in different styles, but the colour had to be essentially black.
In some areas of Europe, women who are widowed, generally wear a black dress throughout their lives. Some of the family members of the deceased also have to wear black for an extended period of time which might last up to two years.
Significance of Wearing Black For Mourning In Different Cultures
In different cultures, black colour is associated with death and grieving. One of the most important parts of a mourning dress in the European culture is the mourning veil or the weeping veil. This is also black in colour and is associated with the full period of mourning.
There can be a lot of reasons why people choose a black dress as a symbolic dress of choice while mourning. One of the reasons might be that the black colour is associated with death in many cultures and since both darkness, and light are eternal colours; as in white signifies life and light while black signifies death and darkness.
Photo Credit: Vam.ac.uk
Most of the women in the Victorian ages were not allowed to wear any kind of ornament in the period of full mourning. After this, they were allowed to wear simple ornaments although the wearing of coloured attire is still forbidden.
There are a number of rules, which need to be followed during this period and the black dress for mourning has a symbolic importance in the society also. The black attire signifies the grief of a person who has lost his or her near and dear ones, and reminds us that nothing in this life is permanent.
The Etiquettes To Be Followed
There are many elaborate rituals which must be performed and etiquettes, which must be followed while there is a funeral or a period of mourning.There is a customary gathering in some areas where people gather to offer condolences to the family and share their thoughts about the deceased person.
In many cultures, relatives and neighbours offer food to the family of the deceased as it is believed that no food should be prepared in the home of the person who has deceased. The mourning etiquettes involve sending a message or a note asking for forgiveness if you are unable to attend the gathering.
Sending flowers to the bereaved family is one custom, which is followed by the people of many religions and countries. These are the customs which are common to almost any country.