What is the origin of white mourning clothes in African-American culture?



The color that represents mourning varies depending on each culture and the belief of the place. In India and some African countries they use white, based on the same superstition, to hide from the spirits of the deceased, however, today the color white also represents purity of the soul. In South Africa, for example, they wear red during mourning ceremonies, as this color represents the blood of the deceased. Sky blue has been adopted in Syria, as this shade symbolizes harmony and fidelity to the memory of the deceased. In Thailand, a more striking color, violet, is used. This shade represents modesty and penitence, according to the liturgy, as well as symbolizing the transmigration of the soul and spirituality.

Another reason is because white was the most affordable fabric color, and one most people already had. Even when black didn become the color of mourning in the west, children still wore white to funerals as a sign of innocence and purity.

Today, white vestments are more often used in preparation for funerals by the peoples of African and Asian countries, as well as some European countries (Spain, China, Japan, etc.). Traditions have been changed, fashions have changed. And today, where previously white was considered mourning, now black is used to express mourning.





Already in ancient times it was customary to signal mourning with special clothing and its color. At the latest, since the 19th century, the cultures of Central Europe and North America made sure that the color of clothing was black or at least very dark, because black, among other things, symbolizes death in the Western world. In other countries and other times other colors of mourning came and still exist, for example, in Europe in the past white was used along with black . In Asia and in Buddhist countries, among others, white is still the color of mourning. in Ancient Egypt, yellow was considered a sign of mourning. In Africa there is usually no typical mourning garment.

Why is white the Colour of mourning?

Depending on the culture, colors are perceived differently and have different meanings. What many cultures have in common, however: The color of mourning and death is white.

In many Asian countries, white stands for death, and this color is also used for mourning in Buddhism and Hinduism. In ancient Europe, white was also considered the color of mourning for a long time, but was replaced by black, which has since become common, when wedding dresses changed their color from black to white.





The problem with white wedding attire was the difficulty in keeping it clean. Wedding gowns used to be made of black fabric and became an everyday dress after the wedding. By the way, Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland (1819-1901) was the first white bride, before that a wedding dress could be any color.

Colorful wedding dresses are found less often, but the color purple is still considered a mourning color by European royal families today. White in our culture also stands for innocence, cleanliness, peace and youth.

White is meant to signify purity and rebirth and is a popular colour of mourning for many East Asia countries. It also has strong connections to Europe as well. Starting in France in the 16th century, white was worn by bereaved children and unmarried women.

When did the color of mourning change from white to black?

Since the 1870s, mourning practices for some cultures, even those who have emigrated to the United States, are to wear black for at least two years, though lifelong black for widows remains in some parts of Europe.



Why do Africans wear white to a funeral?

White – purity and rebirth

Worn throughout a grieving period which could last anywhere from a week to six months, the thickness of the plaster could represent the depth of the widow’s sorrow. At the end of her mourning period, the kopi would be placed on her husband’s grave.

Why is white worn at funerals?

White is a color of mourning across the globe

Buddhists wear white to funerals as a symbol of mourning, and respect to the deceased person. Believing that the first three days should be a period of positivity, so that the deceased can transition from life to death peacefully, Buddhists prefer to mourn in white.



Who wears white for mourning?

The family of someone who dies wears white mourning, in the hope that their loved ones are reborn again. The idea of white mourning, otherwise known as deuil blanc in French, was formed during the 16th century when white was worn by bereaved children and unmarried women.

What is the meaning of mourning clothes?

mourning clothes in British English

(ˈmɔːnɪŋ kləʊðz ) plural noun. clothes worn as a symbol of grief at a bereavement, esp black clothes.

What cultures wear white to funerals?

White as a Mourning Color

White is the color of mourning in Ethiopia. It is also the mourning color in Buddhism as practiced in India, Cambodia, and areas of Japan. However, white has different meanings as a mourning color in China and India. Both countries and their cultures use white for a color of mourning.



What is the African tradition when someone dies?

Death is recognized in Africa through a rite of passage that prepares the spirit of the deceased to journey on to the next realm. In many African societies, after the body is buried, the family will have a second, more elaborate funeral. This second funeral takes place some forty days after the first burial.

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