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Professional Mourners

Definition: Professional Mourners known as 'Mutes' were hired to walk behind the hearse in Victorian times. They wore black draped hats and coats and carried draped banners and they bore a suitably dignified, somber countenance.
Professional Mourners known as 'Mutes' were hired to walk behind the hearse in Victorian times. They wore black draped hats and coats and carried draped banners and they bore a suitably dignified, somber countenance.
Professional Mourners known as 'Mutes' were hired to walk behind the hearse in Victorian times. They wore black draped hats and coats and carried draped banners and they bore a suitably dignified, somber countenance.

It was socially accepted that an elaborate funeral reflected the deceased's status and degree of respect they were therefore due.

There were strict social rules of mourning etiquette to be observed regarding mourning attire and obligatory timelines that had to be followed.

These mourning practices spread throughout Europe and professional mourners became affiliated and even went on strike for better wages.

Later on with the advent of modern motorized hearses now leading the funeral procession, professional mourners were relegated out of the ceremony all together.

The Victorian attitude frowned upon personal displays of emotion by the grieving family and relatives, so the hiring of a professional mourner would publicly display the families grief on their behalf. These mourners may have never known or met the deceased or family before being employed by them.

Professional mourners have been a traditional part of the funeral ceremony throughout history. It was felt that the greater the numbers of mourners in attendance was a symbol of the deceased's social standing and status and so it was believed that the loss was a more significant one. Additional mourners ensured a heartfelt show of grief.

 

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Collections:

Victorian Era Funeral Customs and Rituals

 

Related Categories:

| Victorian Era Superstitions | Victorian Funeral Cards | Victorian Funeral Processessions | Victorian Grave Robbing | Victorian Hearses and Horses | Victorian Mourning Clothes |

Resources:

  external linkFriday's Funerary Customs ~ Professional Mourners

 

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