Funeral Threads

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by SpoiledPrincess, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. SpoiledPrincess

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    I've been to a funeral this morning (my aunt who I hadn't seen for some years) and I was quite glad to see that everyone was in dark colours - black, navy, brown, I prefer this tradition but find that many people now go to funerals in ordinary clothes - bright colours, flowered garments, even jeans.

    Do you think it's a sign of respect to stick to dark, sober clothing or do you think the days of mourning clothes are long gone?
     
  2. ManlyBanisters

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    Well - it entirely depends on the funeral in question. A close relative of mine (passed away some years back) specifically requested NO black - she also had Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" play her out and a few of her close friends and family danced to it too. It was great - exactly what she had expressed a preference for - a celebration of life.

    In other circumstances I do prefer to wear black or other somber colours, if that is what I think the family / deceased person want(ed) (if I'm not family that is). Certainly I think wearing jeans and other casual styles of clothes is disrespectful. I think smart is a bare minimum after which the colour and style should reflect the mood of the specific funeral.
     
  3. Principessa

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    My condolences SP, it's always a bit sad when one of the "old guard" dies.

    IMO, jeans are inappropriate for a funeral unless it's for a member of the Levi-Strauss family, and even then I suspect a more formal attire would be better.

    As for the bright colors and bold floral prints. This is not uncommon in some ethnicities as they like to celebrate the life of the deceased in a visually joyful manner. I've heard of some people who actually request that people wear bright garments to their funeral. If this is the case, then clearly the wishes of the deceased or the family should trump your preference. That said, I am a traditionalist and usually opt for more somber colors.
     
  4. SpoiledPrincess

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    I should have been more specific NJ and said your normal protestant, Catholic or other Christian type church as I realise that for some groups that isn't their tradition.
     
  5. snoozan

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    in the US, dressing down is the norm. i find it atrocious. taking time to dress appropriately, whether a funeral, work, a wedding, or a party is a sign of respect. the fact that it's becoming less and less common makes me sad. i'm all for wearing black at a funeral only because it's a standard way of showing respect for the dead. it may be an arbitrary custom, but customs still have meaning rooted in centuries of tradition.
     
  6. Osiris

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    I agree with that usually. I think suits and dresses of darker hue are appropriate in most cases, but I did have a cousin who died in her teens and her parents actually asked people to wear bright colors. The cheerleaders on her cheer team came in uniform and we released multi-colored balloons.

    I have been to several funerals that were I guess themed to the individual. I think I changed my view after my mother's last request:

    Remember me as I was in life, not as I look in death.

    There is some truth to that.

    When I die? I want a horse drawn hearse, pulled by two Clydesdales in full dressage. I want (To quote Juanita Moore in Imitation of Life) a brass band playing. High stepping, sending me home to glory. I want people at the gathering after to laugh, joke, remember the good and save the tears. Laughing me to glory is much better than whisking me away on a veil of tears.
     
  7. SpoiledPrincess

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    I know some people now make requests like no flowers, or to dress as if for a party as they want their goodbye to be a celebration of their life and in that case you're following their wishes, but I've been to funerals which didn't specify a dress code and in that case I think the wise choice is to follow tradition. And as you mentioned it I think a good send off is essential Osiris, everyone having a drink, meeting friends and family they haven't seen for ages, the reminiscences, laughter and tears are an important part of a funeral.

    I've decided not to bother dying so it won't be a problem for me :)
     
  8. Principessa

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    Slightly off topic. I'm sick of seeing pre-teen to college age girls wearing pajamas and slippers out to the grocery store, Target or even Barnes and Noble. I suppose it's an improvement over the slut type attire many wear because everything is covered. :rolleyes: It still annoys the shit out of me. :mad: Pajamas a.k.a. bed clothes or night clothes are meant to be worn in your home, NOT out on the street! :eek:

    When I lived in South Jersey it was not uncommon to see a gaggle of girls in Sponge Bob or Tinker Bell jammies sipping espresso and studying at the local Barnes & Noble. :wtf1:
     
  9. Pirate Wench

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    SP, I'm sorry for your loss.....
    {{{HUG}}}
    *

    What to wear.....
    Depends on the deceased and how well I knew them.

    My older brother made me laugh more than anyone and after he was killed in a crash in 2003.....for the funeral, I almost put the word out to all that if they wanted to wear shorts...to go ahead in honor of my brother who practically lived in shorts, and everyone who knew him knew that.
    He would have thought that was a cool thing to do...:smile:
    He had an outstanding sense of humor.

    It was early August, so it would've been more comfortable too.
    But I didn't put the word out to wear shorts.....and now I wish I had.

    Still...I wore long black pants and a bright floral print shirt.

    But most funerals I've gone to, I wore black and a dark color like navy, hunter green, or a burgundy red.

    I think it would be funny to have "Oh Happy Day" played at my funeral, just to see who could keep a straight face....LOL
    Everybody needs comic relief at a funeral.
     
  10. simcha

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    SP, so sorry to read about your loss.

    When my Dad died in May 2006, I refused to wear a tie to his funeral. My Father detested ties and hadn't worn one for over ten years. He was buried in his favorite sweatshirt (his Italian American Club sweatshirt). So, I know if somehow he would have attended his own funeral he would have been dressed in nice slacks and a nice shirt without a tie. That's how he dressed for his brother's funeral and his mother's funeral.

    I don't think it's disrespectful to wear non-traditional clothing at a funeral. I didn't wear a tie for a special reason. I did wear nice clothing, business casual, as Dad would have worn.

    I think though that going to someone else's funeral, it would depend on the family. The funeral is more for the family and dear friends of the deceased than it is for the person who died, IMHO. So, I would at the very least wear muted colors and my nice business clothes. I still refuse to wear a tie. I despise them as much as my Dad did...
     
  11. snoozan

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    Maybe I should have "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" played at mine. :biggrin1:
     
  12. simcha

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    Oh and when I die, I want drag queens to do the service and I want to be cremated. I don't want to take up any space that future generations are going to need for living room on this planet. I'd be quite content to fertilize a tree, so dump my ashes around a tree in a forest or something...
     
  13. Osiris

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    Agreed. If no dress code is previously stated, respect and etiquette would mandate proper dressed attire. No jeans or t-shirts.

    OK I find no problem with going to the store or the coffee house like that. I have gone in my Guinness PJ pants and matching t-shirt. When my wife says I want ice cream and i am still in bed, I am NOT getting dressed to run down the hill, pick it up, come back, get undressed and go back to sleep.
     
  14. Not_Punny

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    I usually dress in black and my kids in formal clothes.

    - - - - -

    But when I go, I want a costume party with people dressing as characters they think I might "come back" as.... I think there might be a lot of insect costumes... :eek::eek:

    (j/k) (haven't written my will yet, although I probably should hurry up -- every second is ticking closer to the end of my time!)
     
  15. ZOS23xy

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    I'll need to deal with this soon, as My Dad has luekemia.

    Wear respectable things and not the day glo shirts to bought for parties. I do have a suit. At least the jacket still fits. Might need to seek out dark dress pants.

    *sigh*
     
  16. Osiris

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    I'm thinking we get Dame Shirley Bassey to sing Hey Big Spender. :wink:

    We will wear our finest costumes. The outrageously expensive Othello and Desdemona tunics and gown we got from the SF Opera's House Cleaning sale years back. Only our best for you.

    Pirate Wench and Simcha are both examples of how you should do it. I think you both have the right idea.

    And Simcha? I look horrid in drag so I will have to respectfully decline coming in drag to yours. :biggrin1:
     
  17. earllogjam

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    Funerals are for the surviors and the closest surviors should set the tone for what attire is appropriate. If it is not mentioned in the announcement one should err on being conservative and dress in dark colors.

    I think it odd if everyone wore formal black attire and one or two wore loud shirts with jeans. The deceased should be the center of attention and not an attendee. Sticking out like that would not only be embarrassing but rude and disrespectful in most peoples eyes. Would you want someone to come to your formal wedding in ripped jeans, flip flops and a t-shirt?
     
  18. B_Lightkeeper

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    Years ago I was at work and found out that morning of a good friend (as well as customer) dying. His visitation was that afternoon so I wanted to go. Only problem was that I lived 21 miles away and wouldn't have time to go home and change and then get back before it was over. So I went - in shorts, my work shirt and tennis shoes.

    Yes, I could feel people stareing at me but I was there to pay my respect and show his widow my sympathy.

    Since I want to be cremated when my time comes, I will go out of this world like I came in - naked. If a memorial service is planned by my SO or brother, I could care less what people wear to it.
     
  19. jason_els

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    I detest few things as I detest the demise of funeral etiquette. While the Victorians went waaaaay overboard with their funerary rituals, I think some socially-recognized symbols are appropriate as they serve to ease the pain of the survivors.

    Time was a person in the home died and a wreath of flowers with a black ribbon was placed on the front door. This was a symbol to callers that the family was in mourning so please be a little more polite and calm when coming to the home. If a child in the household died then the flowers were white. Who wants girl scouts calling to sell cookies when their daughter has just died?

    I have a black suit set aside exclusively for attending funerals. I bought it when my grandfather died and at his funeral I wore it with a white shirt and a very deep purple tie with exquisitely tiny green MG roadsters to recognize my grandfather's love of British sports cars. Otherwise I wore no jewelry, substituting black silk knots for cufflinks and a simple black Swatch. I felt it necessary to use clothing as a message to those few who still understand it; that I just needed a little space, a little quiet, and that if I seemed overly serious or distant, then there was a reason for it. A simple black armband achieves the same thing in the days following. Funerals are formal occasions because they recognize a major event in the life of the person being honored. Funeral etiquette, like all good etiquette, exists to help smooth the social interactions of the close family and friends of the mourned and gives the more distant acquaintances knowledge of appropriate behavior to express their condolences in a way which the close survivors will appreciate. Black attire is a way to signal to the world that you have lost someone you cared about and lets the close survivors know that you share their grief. Such support in times of mourning can be remarkably helpful.

    I have no problems with making allowances for cultural differences. Some societies prefer white for mourning, others have certain rituals. A simple call to the funeral parlor or friend of the family can give anyone an idea of what the family would appreciate. Even then, I don't think you can go wrong wearing black in western countries.

    What matters most is showing sympathy for the surviving friends and family , and respect for the deceased. To make a change in your daily dress or behavior, a simple note of condolence with flowers, a donation to a favored charity-- all are excellent ways to express respect and sympathy. If you're surviving friend or family then these acknowledgments are helpful because you know that they are expressions of appreciation at a time when others may have difficulty expressing their regards. This is why etiquette exists and at no time is it more valuable than at a time of such personal loss.
     
  20. jason_els

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    I don't think anyone would begrudge you this. One plans when one can, and if you don't have that opportunity then you don't. Modern life being what it is, some people can only attend on short notice or on a break from work where uniforms or other dress may be required. There is no shame in that. What matters is that you were able to express your sorrow and respect for the deceased and his family.

    My uncle was the first chief of staff of our local hospital and the funeral was held in a church across the street from the hospital. At his funeral the narthex was filled with people from all over the hospital who took a few minutes to come over as time allowed. This meant a great deal to my family and nobody gave a damn how they were dressed because we knew they were constrained by the needs of their work.

     
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