MOURNING (from the verb " to mourn," to be sorrowful, O. Eng. murnan; cf. O.H.G. mornen, Goth, maurnan, to be anxious, O.N. morna, to pine away; by some referred to root seen in Gr. tiipifivo., sorrow, by others to root mer-, to die), the expression of grief or sorrow particularly for the dead; more specifically the outward or conventional signs of such grief. The public exhibition of this grief for the dead has taken various forms among different races and in different ages, from shaving of the head, or allowing the beard and hair to grow, from disfiguring the face and uttering loud wailing cries, to the wearing of clothes of a particular colour, now among Western races usually black, and to the purely conventional custom of using black-edged note-paper, cards, etc. (See further FUNERAL RITES).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)