Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mourning Rites of the Past to Be Topic of First Monday Program

A black mourning dress of the 19th
century. Mourning customs of
the past will be the topic of
the Easton Area Community
Center's next "First Monday"
Contributed photo
Curtains would be drawn and clocks would be stopped at the time of death. Mirrors were covered with crape or veiling to prevent the deceased’s spirit from getting trapped in the looking glass.  A wreath of laurel, yew or boxwood tied with crepe or black ribbons was hung on the front door to alert passersby that a death had occurred. The body was watched over every minute until burial, hence the custom of "waking."

These and other customs surrounding the death of loved ones will be the topic of the Easton Area Community Center's next First Monday program, set for this coming Monday, November 4 from noon to 1 p.m.

Easton historian Melissa Rabinsky, dressed in period costume and adopting a demeanor of the 19th century, will detail the mourning customs of the day and the reasons behind them. Some, such as the custom of dressing in black being considered proper etiquette for attending a funeral, are still observed today, though an extended period of wearing black dress is no longer expected .

The public is invited to the talk, and there is no charge for admission.

The Easton Area Community Center is located at 901 Washington St. For more information, call EACC at 610-253-8271.

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