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 Post subject: Re: Religion: changes through the series
PostPosted: 23 Apr 2018, 20:45 
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I have mixed feelings about mourning clothes/colours. On the one hand it was traditional and a sign of respect. As well as that, of course, the person might be feeling so miserable they would rather wear dark colours. On the other hand, one can think what does clothes colour matter?

I do think it is much more important to have been kind to the person when they were alive as opposed to making a fuss about colours. Obviously though to turn up for the funeral in "sluttish" clothes would not be good.

One thing I do wonder is if at some funerals of "ordinary" people the clothes are more likely to be dark/formal now simply because clothes are cheaper and some people might also have more money.


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 Post subject: Re: Religion: changes through the series
PostPosted: 23 Apr 2018, 20:59 
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Interesting points there, Audrey, and I certainly agree that kindness in the person's lifetime is worth much more than any amount of mourning clothing. Even what would formerly have been thought of as sluttish can have its place - I have a young relative who is a professional thespian and does 'drag' roles in panto, and I suspect that he would say 'wear whatever you like, even if that's OTT, but remember me with love' - and I suspect that many of us would have no quarrel with that. And I've certainly been to funerals where the guidance has been 'please wear bright colours, because it was X's wish'.

It seems to me that navy has almost replaced black as a mourning colour for many people in the UK, especially for those who are on a limited/ fixed income: cheap black can look horrible, whereas navy blue is easier to come by at a reasonable price, and still looks reverent.


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 Post subject: Re: Religion: changes through the series
PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 01:25 
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Back in the earlier days when dying clothes was so expensive and thus coloured clothes were out of reach of the less well-off, many people had black clothes for "best" and these were worn for all sorts of occasions - weddings, funerals, parties, etc. For those who have read Louisa May Alcott's Old-Fashioned Girl, it's the reason Polly's black dress is so sneered and mocked with comments about "that inevitable dress" and "the little blackbird" because her lack of money is so obvious. It's also the reason Laura's wedding dress is black in These Happy Golden Years - it's the closest to being finished because it is likely to be worn or needed before any of the others.

Such clothes would be kept carefully for those occasions, perhaps only worn a few times a year, and are thus also in much better condition for receiving the many visitors who would come to the house after a bereavement. In some cultures, e.g. the Jewish faith, there is also the idea that a person who has suffered a loss should not do any work or even move more than necessary during the immediate time of mourning (in Judaism it's seven days) so the dress is not likely to be torn, stained or marked by perspiration (visitors are expected to bring food so that the family don't have to cook).

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 Post subject: Re: Religion: changes through the series
PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 02:36 
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In one of Noel Streatfeild's books, Wintle's Wonders, she brilliantly depicts the turmoil of feelings in a grieving child who dresses herself without thinking in clothes that she probably sees as not-joyful clothes, only to bitterly resent a clumsy adult remarking on it - in absolute rage, she tears off the not-joyful dress and puts on a bright, bright dress that her mother had loved. It's really beautifully observed and written about grief and its hurt.


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 Post subject: Re: Religion: changes through the series
PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 11:43 
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Noreen wrote:
It seems to me that navy has almost replaced black as a mourning colour for many people in the UK, especially for those who are on a limited/ fixed income: cheap black can look horrible, whereas navy blue is easier to come by at a reasonable price, and still looks reverent.


This was the beauty of the "Meetings' Suit". Usually M&S, black, grey or navy blue, it came in for solemn occasions.

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 Post subject: Re: Religion: changes through the series
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 09:10 
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I don't think that people are too bothered about what you wear to a funeral nowadays, provided you dress reasonably smartly. Or that you come at all, the last one I went to was a colleague's, and a substantial proportion of the attendees came straight from work still in uniform.


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 Post subject: Re: Religion: changes through the series
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 09:42 
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We don't see that many actual ... "occasion" isn't the right word for a funeral, and it's perhaps not something you'd expect to find in a children's book anyway, but we don't see many weddings, and, when we do, the religious side of things is barely mentioned. I think we only see one christening - Stephen's - and no confirmations or first communions. OK, they would mainly have taken place in the holidays, but, considering that religion plays such a big part in the books, there aren't that many formal religious occasions. Mr Eastley, Vater Stefan and Bishop Mensch appear in minor roles, and there's the mention of the priest and the vicar who ride round together on a motorbike :lol:, some of the girls have dads or brothers who are clergymen, and some Old Girls become nuns, but it's all in the background. Having said which, too much formal religious stuff in books can get awkward - I'm always surprised that Antonia Forest's publishers were OK with the Kingscote books including a character making major criticisms of Vatican II, which, as much as everyone is entitled to their opinion, must have been quite controversial at the time.

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