FUNERALS : dress code

[quote="lizaanne, post:17, topic:212348"]
I know it's not in person, but this is our beautiful parish and our holy priests on Good Friday: Assumption Grotto

~Liza

[/quote]

Hi lizaanne,
Thank you so much for the link. Lovely photos. Very respectful and peaceful.
God Bless,
Colmcille.

[quote="DexUK, post:19, topic:212348"]
What about if the deceased specifically requested that people NOT wear black?

I know one lady who would be horrified if anyone turns up to her funeral in black or anything close to it. My mother disliked it too (I wore a sober suit for her funeral but I didn't go the whole hog on the black). My father, on the other hand, would probably want black at his funeral because he's quite "old school" about these sorts of things.

I think one shouldn't forget the wishes of the deceased.

[/quote]

Hi DexUK,
You raise an interesting point here.
I wonder what is the official Church stance on this?
Presumably they must be fairly relaxed about it given that, as you say, a person may be free to make a specific request re a dress code.
But if your dad's "old school" black was made mandatory, would that necessarily be such a bad ruling?
God Bless,
Colmcille.

Hi kamaan,
Yes, I have heard this expressed before. A dark colour is in keeping with the tone of loss and solemnity.
God Bless,
Colmcille.

Oops, I was suggesting those colours as an alternative to black for the lady in Dex’s example. I missed the part where he said “anything close to [black]” was off-limits, too :blush:

[quote="colmcille1, post:13, topic:212348"]
Hi Lormar,
Would I be right in assuming that you are being facetious?
If not, would you like to expand on why you would take such a casual approach?
God Bless,
Colmcille.

[/quote]

Dear Colmcille, I wish that I was being facetious. For myself, I do not take a casual approach. At a funeral, I would never wear anything but black and would wear either a dress or a skirt. I do not wear pants at all in fact. However, the same cannot be said for most people who take a "casual approach" to their attire in Church - be it for a funeral or Holy Mass on Sunday. As for the "why" - you would have to ask them. I will not presume to answer for them.

While some people might disapprove of mourners wearing colours, my friend would say that we should be happy that she’s (hopefully) on her way to Heaven.

While we may mourn our loss, there is a great celebration in Heaven at the coming-home of a soul. We should not forget that.

A friend of Cardinal Basil Hume, upon being told by the Cardinal of his terminal cancer and imminent death, remarked “How wonderful, I wish I was coming with you!”

Death need not be a cause for despair and despond - it can, if we let it be, the opportunity for the celebration of the new birth of a soul into the light of God’s heavenly kingdom as well as a celebration of the life of the deceased. Yes, we’re sad that we no longer have that person with us, but to be too distraught risks an unwise desire to pull that soul back to us when we should be praying that the soul speeds its way into God’s fully realised love.

I do not want black at my funeral. Or dark green, or dark blue, or any other dark colour in predominance. Wear colours. Celebrate my new birth. Celebrate the fact that I finally (hopefully) have the chance to realise the full import of all my sins in Purgatory and can be washed clean of them and my inevitable attachment to them. Celebrate the fact that I welcomed this cleansing and offered myself freely for it. Be happy for my new journey of discovery.

Since the earlier poster added links from a Solemn Requiem Mass, and since some haven’t seen the black vestments, I thought I would share this. I believe the photo was taken at Westminster Cathedral:

Also an excuse to post links to these beautiful pieces from Faure’s Requiem:

youtube.com/watch?v=SnAepIsU_XU

youtube.com/watch?v=zuQXGA_BwY4&feature=related

We are going to have very different funerals :smiley:

Beautiful, love the black and gold :slight_smile: Thanks!

I wore purple to my DH's funeral.

Several years ago (4 to be exact), a very very dear friend of mine passsed away.

She was a very lively bubbly person, and everyone absolutely loved her.

She passed away very unexpectedly, and only 4 days before her 34th birthday. It was all very tragic.

Anyway, she was a huge sports fan, and her two favorite teams were the Houston Astros (baseball), and the Fighting Illini (college basketball).

She was buried wearing a Fighting Illini Sweatshirt, and a Houston Astros ball cap.

Everyone who attended was asked to wear similar attire.

It was really very touching to see the church full of people wearing Orange and Navy Blue, or Fighting Illini shirts etc. Even the celebrant wore it under his vestments.

Once we arrived at the cemetery, and the casket was being moved from the hearse to the grave for the final services, everyone in attendance belted out the Illini battle call.

It was very very moving, and I think it made a lasting impression on alot of people.

Recently an acquaintance died and when I went to the funeral home I found that he was wearing a Grinch t-shirt. Needless to say, nobody at the funeral home was dressed as though in mourning, although they obviously were since they loved him. He was just not the type of guy that you’d honour by wearing black clothing.

Society has moved away from a formal mourning period where the family wears black for a year and then subdued colours for another year. (Whether this is good or bad is another discussion). Mom wore black for a year after her dad died. She didn’t do that when her mom died 25 years later and we didn’t wear black when she died (well, I did at the wake and to the funeral because I had black & white clothing, but I certainly didn’t wear mourning colours the rest of the time.) Few, if any people who came to the wake and the funeral wore black and I never would have considered that disrespectful. I don’t recall wearing black to Dad’s funeral because IIRC, the only black clothes I owned were jeans and t-shirts.

[quote="Lormar, post:25, topic:212348"]
Dear Colmcille, I wish that I was being facetious. For myself, I do not take a casual approach. At a funeral, I would never wear anything but black and would wear either a dress or a skirt. I do not wear pants at all in fact. However, the same cannot be said for most people who take a "casual approach" to their attire in Church - be it for a funeral or Holy Mass on Sunday. As for the "why" - you would have to ask them. I will not presume to answer for them.

[/quote]

Hi Lormar,
My apologies for misinterpreting your post. I fully agree with your approach.
I really don't know where this casual wardrobe approach comes from. Is it to do with a general falling away of old values?
God Bless,
Colmcille.

[quote="DexUK, post:26, topic:212348"]
While some people might disapprove of mourners wearing colours, my friend would say that we should be happy that she's (hopefully) on her way to Heaven.

While we may mourn our loss, there is a great celebration in Heaven at the coming-home of a soul. We should not forget that.

A friend of Cardinal Basil Hume, upon being told by the Cardinal of his terminal cancer and imminent death, remarked "How wonderful, I wish I was coming with you!"

Death need not be a cause for despair and despond - it can, if we let it be, the opportunity for the celebration of the new birth of a soul into the light of God's heavenly kingdom as well as a celebration of the life of the deceased. Yes, we're sad that we no longer have that person with us, but to be too distraught risks an unwise desire to pull that soul back to us when we should be praying that the soul speeds its way into God's fully realised love.

I do not want black at my funeral. Or dark green, or dark blue, or any other dark colour in predominance. Wear colours. Celebrate my new birth. Celebrate the fact that I finally (hopefully) have the chance to realise the full import of all my sins in Purgatory and can be washed clean of them and my inevitable attachment to them. Celebrate the fact that I welcomed this cleansing and offered myself freely for it. Be happy for my new journey of discovery.

[/quote]

Hi DexUK,
Thank you for your reply.
I see where you are coming from here. But I have to ask : is this not a form of human vanity in the face of what ought to be an occasion marked in a traditional way?
Fair enough, we can feel celebratory in the way you outlined but should it not also be incumbent on us to show reverence to a tradition that bestows solemnity on the event?
I don't see why the two aspects cannot co-exist within an attendee at a funeral.
God Bless,
Colmcille.

Hi twopekinguys,
I feel a tad uneasy in replying to you because I do no wish to appear insensitive viz the loss of a dear friend at a tragically young age. So please read my post in the light of objective debate.
M feeling, as I posted to DexUK, is that I would love to see a situation where the traditional black is reinstated, as it were, as the proper dress code for funerals.
Indeed, I do not see black as necessarily mirroring our feelings. I am all for celebrating the life of the deceased on his/her final journey home.
I would simply like the mourners to reflect in their clothing that this is a sacrament which requires a dress code. It reinforces the importance we traditionally attach to said sacrament and we should respectfully acknowledge that.
Again, I hope I have not come across as unkind and if I have, I apologise.
God Bless,
Colmcille.

[quote="Phemie, post:31, topic:212348"]
Recently an acquaintance died and when I went to the funeral home I found that he was wearing a Grinch t-shirt. Needless to say, nobody at the funeral home was dressed as though in mourning, although they obviously were since they loved him. He was just not the type of guy that you'd honour by wearing black clothing.

Society has moved away from a formal mourning period where the family wears black for a year and then subdued colours for another year. (Whether this is good or bad is another discussion). Mom wore black for a year after her dad died. She didn't do that when her mom died 25 years later and we didn't wear black when she died (well, I did at the wake and to the funeral because I had black & white clothing, but I certainly didn't wear mourning colours the rest of the time.) Few, if any people who came to the wake and the funeral wore black and I never would have considered that disrespectful. I don't recall wearing black to Dad's funeral because IIRC, the only black clothes I owned were jeans and t-shirts.

[/quote]

Hi Phemie,
Perhaps the issue is not so much disrespect for the deceased but respect for the tradition. I understand that the Church is relaxed about all of this but I wish it were otherwise.
God Bless,
Colmcille.

[quote="colmcille1, post:35, topic:212348"]
Hi Phemie,
Perhaps the issue is not so much disrespect for the deceased but respect for the tradition. I understand that the Church is relaxed about all of this but I wish it were otherwise.
God Bless,
Colmcille.

[/quote]

While the Church has a tradition of black vestments for funerals, I don't think it has ever said word one about what the people at a funeral wear. Black as a mourning colour is a social concept. Other societies consider white to be the colour of mourning, which is why you'll see their brides dressed in red but not in white.

No offense taken.

As I said in an earlier post, I believe that what people wear to a funeral respresents their own particular relationship to the deceased and their family.

If a person is a mechanic, you’re going to be people dressing more casually. If the person were a banker, you’re probably going to see more suits and ties.

Plus, we have to take into consideration that many people come directly from work for the funeral, and are unable to go home and change first.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s (and before), many more wives and mothers were stay at home moms, and able to get their kids and themselves into their Sunday best. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case anymore.

Now a days, with the way things are ,many people are lucky to get off for the funeral, if it isn’t a relative.

I’m a funeral cantor. I usually wear “black/and” when I sing. I have seen all manner of dress at funerals among the family and friends. Most of the older people wear somber colors. Most people who appear not to be regular church-goers wear black. Some of them are young women whose only black clothing consists of the “little black dress,” which may be short, sleeveless and low-cut. But it’s black, so they wear it. When the deceased was a manual laborer or similar, the clothing is usually quite casual. They don’t buy new clothes for a funeral. I often see nurses and other health care workers in their work uniforms. They, who once cared for the deceased as part of their job, have come from work and will return there.

The most interesting thing I’ve seen was this. Everyone was dressed in business attire, including the pallbearers. One pallbearer came into the sanctuary to do the first reading. He appeared to be wearing pinkish socks with his suit. After the psalm, another pallbearer came up for the second reading. He also appeared to be wearing pinkish socks with his dark suit. So I’m thinking, what’s with the pink socks? Finally, after Communion, a third pallbearer came up to do the reflection/eulogy thing. He also had the pink “socks.” It turned out, as he explained, that the deceased had never worn socks - ever - and the pallbearers and most of the men present had gone sockless in his honor.

Betsy

Like one poster already mentioned, it seems to depend upon the relationship between the deceased and the people attending the funeral. The actual funeral mass, people seem to dress up more. The viewing at the funeral home, anything from dressy to casual.

But honestly, when my dad died, I was more comforted by the people that came to pay their respects than the way they were dressed. Their presence at the viewing and at the mass was deeply, deeply appreciated whether they dressed up or could only muster shorts and a t-shirt.

I'm Sicilian American.

Normally the family of the deceased wears black for the wake and funeral.

I'll share the old rules for mourning.

If a sibling died, one wore black for a year. So women would wear black skirts, stockings, blouses etc.....the men would wear a black tie, or arm-band, or black button pinned to their clothing.

If a parent died, black would be worn for 2 years.

When a spouse died, the remaining spouse wore black perpetually (or until they remarried)

My 2 Grandmothers always wore black. One was a widow. The other wore black to mourn siblings, parents ans a SIL, I remember her rarely in a color other than black.

This custom is not to common anymore. My grandfather was an infant when his father died. They dressed him in little black baby clothes.:(

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