White tie or black tie. In Sweden this is a funeral dress code.

“I wear a white tie, right?”

The Swedish husband asked me, the immigrant from across the pond.  I had to suppress  a giggle despite the somber reality of why the question was asked. We will bury my mother-in-law on Thursday. She often giggled together with me when we poked fun at her son with his moments of utter cluelessness regarding occasional Swedish customs and traditions.

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“Yes, a white tie.”

He’s worn white ties to the funerals of his farfar (paternal grandmother,) his morfar (maternal grandfather,) his mormor (maternal grandmother,) and his father. And black ties to the funerals of his great aunt and his sister’s in-laws.

By deduction you can figure out the custom requires white tie for close family members and black tie for other family or related. Other attendees simply wear somber ties.

For non-Swedes, especially coming from the US where “white tie” and “black tie” are dress codes for more festive formal wear, this can sound confusing. Those would best be understood as “frack” (white tie) and “smoking” (black tie).

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