Clothing for burial

Clothing rites in the past

In most cultures, funeral ceremonies for the deceased are highly ritualised and include, along with religious rites, other guidelines such as rules of dress. These rituals and customs may differ significantly, depending on the region and culture. In the Western world, for instance, the colour black has an established connection to burials.


In the past, people had to give serious thought to the question of appropriate clothing. Very black clothing indicated a close relationship with the deceased. Dark grey indicated that you did not belong to their inner circle. These rules still more or less apply today, but they are not so strictly observed.

Modern funeral wear

No two people and no two funerals are the same. These days, family members decide for themselves what clothing they consider to be appropriate for the funeral of a loved one. It is not absolutely essential to wear black, but rather to choose subdued and darker colours. Clothing should generally not be too gaudy or extravagant. Even today, however, the family of the deceased are inclined to dress in black.


At more fashionable funerals, men are advised to wear a dark-coloured suit with a black tie, while women should wear a simple black dress with matching headwear.


Sometimes it happens that the deceased, during their lifetime, has specified how they wished to be buried and what sort of clothing the mourners should wear. It is not unusual to request that the guests dress in bright colours to celebrate the joy of living.


The customary conventions of dress may also vary if the deceased belonged to a particular group which was of great significance to him or her. If, for example, the deceased was a passionate sportsperson, then teammates may choose to attend in their team uniform as a show of solidarity.