The meaning of various Hindu funeral colours

November 23, 2014

When someone passes away in the Hindu religion, white is the preferred colour for those that come to grieve. Black is a colour of mourning in Western culture, but it is considered rude to wear black to a Hindu funeral. Another interesting note is that mourners will come casually dressed to pay their respects. Dressing up is not something that is required or wanted.

What are the meanings behind the colours at a Hindu funeral?

Hindu religion and culture consider colours to be very important in life. In fact, there are many different meanings attributed to colours. White is considered to be the colour of purity and it combines all of the wonderful colours of Hindu culture, which is why it's worn to funeral ceremonies. It is the colour most often worn by the highest social order (The Brahmin) and it is highly respected.

There are other colours with meanings attributed to them as well in the Hindu culture. They include:

  • Red.It is also considered a symbol of purity but it is also a symbol of innocence. For this reason, young girls and married women are often dressed in red when they pass away. Red is also the colour most often worn by blushing new brides. Red wedding dresses are very popular in Hindu culture.
  • Saffron.Yet another colour that represents purity.
  • Yellow.This colour represents intelligence and education.
  • Green.Green is all about life and living.
  • Blue.Blue is the colour for determination and courage.

What about colour for the deceased?

While Hindu funerals ask that mourners wear casual white clothing, the buried can vary. Young unmarried women can be dressed in any number of colours including white, yellow or even orange. Married women generally will be dressed in red. Men are largely buried in white.

Colours worn at a Hindu funeral or a mourning ceremony are interesting when you look at them from a Western point of view. Virtually everything about it is opposite from what many are used to. That said, the colours represent much more than appearance. They represent the very values and life missions of the Hindu people at large.

The meaning of various Hindu funeral colours
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