MOURNING, a particular habit worn to express grief, especially for the decease of friends. The usages regarding mourning have varied much at different times and in different countries. Among the Jews, the duration a mourning for the dead was gen erally 7, but sometimes protracted to 30 days; and the external indications of sorrow consisted in weeping, tearing the clothes, smiting the breast, cutting off the hair and beard, lying on the ground, walking barefoot, and abstaining from washing and anoint ing themselves. Among the Greeks, the period was 30 days, except in Sparta, where it was limited to 10. The relatives of the deceased secluded themselves from the public eye, wore a coarse black dress, and in ancient times cut off their hair as a sign of grief. Among the Romans, the color of mourning for both sexes was black or dark-blue under the republic. Under the empire, the women wore white, black continuing to be the color for men, who did not cut off the hair or beard as id Greece. Men wore their mourning only,a few days; women a year, when for a husband or parent. The time of mourning was often shortened by a victory or other happy public event, the birth of a child, or the occurrence of a family festival. A public calamity, such as a defeat., or
the death of an emperor or person of note, occasioned a public mourning, which involved a total cessation of buSiness, called Justitium. In modern Europe, the ordinary color for mourning is black; in Turkey, violet; in China, white; in Egypt, yeliow; in Ethio pia. brown. It was white in Spain until 1498. Mourning is worn of different depth, and for different periods of time, according to the nearness of relationship of the deceased. On the death of a sovereign or member of the reigning house, a court mourning is ordered ; and in this country, it is usual at the same time to recommend the adoption of a general mourning.
In Scotch law, if a husband die, whether solvent or insolvent., the widow will be enti tled to a preferable payment out of the assets for mournings suitable to his rank. And the same privilege applies to mountings for such of the children as are to assist at the funeral. In England, there is no such privilege or distinction.