As we said before, Victoria married Albert in 1940 and he died in 1861, when she was only forty-two years old. She remained in deep mourning for three years. Victorian’s women followed the queen and some strict rules were imposed.
Death was present each day in the life of the XIX century. The percentage of child mortality was very high and the life expectancy was only forty-two years.
It was expected that women in that period must exteriorize their sorrow and also the pain of their famillyas well. And how were they able to do it? They showed their grief through their dresses. Black colour was the main feature of mourning in Victorian Era because it represents the lack of light. When someone died in this epoch, all household members (including the servants) adopted mourning. The curtains were clossed and the clocks stopped at time of the death. The carriages and horses were adorned with ostrich black feathers. But when a child died,the feathers were white and the coffin too.
Moreover, the funeral of a poor person had to be on Sundays (only day on which no work was done). However if the family had not saved the money
to make the fumeral on the Sunday after the death, the corpse had to remain at home until the next Sunday.
It was usual the post-mortem photograph, especially in children, to have a keepsake of the loved ones. The photograph was also sent as a way of expressing gratitude or also to the familly who could not attend to the funeral. They also kept locks of hair of the deceased. They were used to make jewellery.
Victorian tombs were much more elaborated than today. It was expected that the deceased’s family spend all the money they could to make a monument appropieted to deceased’s and family social status. Generally, monuments were symbolic, a sword for a general; a paintbrush for a painter...
They were four periods of mourning, each one with its own rules and customs. The widow used to carry out the deepest one and usually lasted two years and a half.
•The first period of mourning or deep mournig lasted one year and one day.The costumes were of two pieces, a bodice and a skirt.
-Work-class women could make a cotton dress or dye one in black .
-Middle class-women could choose among black wool, cotton or silk.
-Upper-class women could use the latest trend but always in silk or wool. The main feature of this period was the long black veil that reached to the waist or to the knees. Women could not wear jewelry. They could only leave home to go to church or visiting relatives.If the wife had no income and small children to raise, they were allowed to marry after this period.
•The second period of mourning latest six months or until the death, as in the case of Queen Victoria. In this period the veil became shorter and they could use it over their heads. In addition, they could use jewelry made of the deceased hair, either a brooch or a bracelet.
•The third mourning period latest between three or six months.In this period the only thing that changes was the veil, shorter than in the second period.
•The fourth mourning period or half mourning latest between six months or till the death. Dresses could be designed to the latest fashion, they only had to be made with half mourning colours like grey, violet, lilac, mauve or white.
Regarding about men, the widower only had one mourning period. This period latest between six months and one year. They could continue with their life and work. Their suit must be in a black cloth.
Finally, when people finish with the mourning period and want to return to normal life, they must send cards to their friends so they can visit and be visited.
-Do not go to a funeral if you are pregnant
-The mirrors were covered because in that peroid existed the belief that the deceased’s spirit stayed trapped in it.
-If the deceased had been a good person, flowers will flower in the tomb, but if the deceased had been a bad person only weeds will grow.
-Stop the clock of the bedroom where the deceased died or if not it could bring bad luck.
-Do not use anything new in the funeral,especially shoes.
-If it rains on the deceased’s body, he or she will go to heaven.
Finally, we found a very interesting video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOve0vB2y40&feature=player_embedded#!