Is black the only color I can wear to a funeral service?

Selecting what outfit to wear can be daunting if you are attending the funeral services of a loved one or friend. Traditionally, black is the go-to color choice that is associated with funerals. However, keep in mind that all funeral ceremonies are unique. It can vary depending on the wishes of the deceased, the traditions of the family, the cultural heritage, and the religious affiliation of the dead. 

You may also need to factor in other details like the venue, time of the year, and degree of formality of the event. That being said, don’t let these elements make you feel overwhelmed. After all, supporting your grieving loved ones and honoring the deceased is far more important than the clothing items you wear. Still, you may want to look your very best for your last send-off to the deceased. So here are a few helpful considerations to help you stay grounded, especially if you are unsure if all black is acceptable for the service. 


Reasoning Why People Commonly Wear Black to Funerals

In North America, people have gotten used to wearing black to a funeral. Historians attribute this to the early Roman Empire as they wore black togas to show grief. Later on, England’s Queen Victoria made black famous as a color for mourning when she laid her husband, Prince Albert, to rest in 1861.

Moreover, as a sign of her loyalty to him, she opted to wear black for the rest of her life as the symbol of her grieving heart. Because British society valued the royal family, wearing black as a sign of mourning death became normal for western societies. To date, many people opt to celebrate the end of life in this manner.


Looking at Other Color Options in History

However, many people in different regions have worn other colors to show their grief. For example, the color gold serves as the color choice for funerals in Egypt. The reasoning behind this is that the gold represents the sun and the God Ra, who is all-powerful as his flesh is made of this precious metal. On top of that, gold is associated with eternal life as it is sturdy and indestructible. 

Similarly, other cultures like the Hindus wear white during mourning. It is a symbol of the purity of a clean soul. In contrast, the people of Ghana wear black and red during funerals. The rationale for this is because both colors signify the grieving period. Meanwhile, purple is the color of mourning for Thais. It is a sacred color that shows sorrow and carries a devotional, holy meaning. 


Choosing What You Will Wear to the Funeral

In this modern world, you are not always required to wear black to a funeral. It is also now acceptable to wear white. Many people alternate between both colors to show respect. Both are subdued colors that do not draw attention. Wearing it signifies that you are attending the services to focus on the deceased and the grieving family members. Hence, your fashion choice is merely secondary. 

Furthermore, other people today also opt for darker colors like olive green, grey, or navy blue. If you go this route, just make sure that the clothes you pick are plain and have no wild patterns. It would also help to avoid flashy accessories that distract the other attendees. Finally, when choosing what to wear, always strive hard for a degree of formality. 

A famous rule of thumb is to assess if your clothes will be appropriate for a job interview. If the answer is no, it is not appropriate for the funeral, so you better pick something else. Again, this is your final tribute for the deceased so it would help dress in appropriate clothes. 


Factoring in Unique Funeral Arrangements

Notably, some families opt to let go of traditional funeral elements, including the need for guests to wear black. Instead, they opt to celebrate life and focus on the joy that the deceased savored during his or her lifetime. 

For this reason, the family members may request their guests to come in bright colors instead like yellow or even pink. The choice is also usually dependent on the personality of the deceased. Thus, it would be helpful to assess if you are attending a unique celebration of life or a traditional funeral. Usually, the family will let you know beforehand if they have dress code specifications. 

Remember, clothing can be a very meaningful way to show respect for the dead. However, there’s no need to agonize over the details of your outfit. The most important thing is to be present. Focus your attention on the deceased and offer comfort for grieving family members. If you are planning a service for your loved one and need assistance during this very trying time, get in touch with our death care experts for assistance.