JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen * The "meaning" of colors (was Black aprons) #general

Tom Venetianer <tom.vene@...>

I have been following the discussion of the use of black aprons by
mourning Jewish ladies in Britain. A member of this group suggested
that the use of black color by mourners is a Christian custom. Not so.

The use of black symbolizing death originates >from the Egyptians and
later >from the Romans, who indeed wear black shrouds when mourning.
The Christians took over the Romans custom. With the time it spread
into the Americas and Europe.

Black, which in the western culture usually evokes "bad" feelings
(black is dirty, somber, related to death, rebellion, etc.), among
Egyptians was also the color of something magical. For the Egyptians,
black cats carried divine powers. These pets are depicted in many
pharaohs tombs, seemingly for that reason (to protect the deceased
from evil spirits).
In the eastern cultures the color for death is white and in Thailand
the widow wears purple robes.

Thus, the "meaning" of colors changes with cultures and among
civilizations. For those interested in this interesting subject, here
are three links:

Tom Venetianer <>
Sao Paulo - Brazil

MODERATOR NOTE: This discussion has drifted away >from its
original genealogical connection. Further responses without
a clear direct connection to genealogy should be sent privately.

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