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Death Related Customs

Following are a few common customs and superstitions related to death:

The color of mourning is black. It is symbolic of spiritual darkness. Like death and the feelings of loss and separation accompanying it, black is dark and fathomless.

A deceased person needs to be removed from the house feet first. If the deceased leaves the house head first, they can look back and beckon those left behind to follow him or her to the grave.

While the back parlor of a home served as an informal space for the family to conduct their lives comfortably, the front parlor, referred to as the “dead room,” functioned as a formal place to receive visitors and display a family’s deceased loved one for viewing. After funeral homes became popular in the last century, people no longer displayed their deceased loved ones at home, and instead took the corpse to a funeral home for preparation and viewing. The family’s back parlor became the family room or den, and the front parlor became the “living room.”

Image from Author's collection

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