The custom of Maidens’ Garlands

In the mailbox today we received a query about Maidens’ Garlands- a custom which seems to have originated, or else was extremely popular in 19th century Great Britain.  When a maiden lady passed away, especially a very young, unmarried girl, it was a custom for young Funeral-Garland-Matlockladies of the parish to construct garlands which were solemnly carried before the casket by two maidens on the way to the cemetery.  These garlands were constructed of white paper, and after the cemetery service were hung in the church.  Also crowns of white living flowers were made which would be borne to the grave by maidens in flowing white dresses, generally processing in pairs.  Statuary in Oak Grove frequently makes use of the symbolism of a crown of rosebuds, lilies, and garland swags for the grave markers of maidens.

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A Maiden’s Garland still hanging in a church in England

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