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White March?

Marche blanche à Argenteuil après la mort d’un jeune homme à moto près d’une voiture de police

It seems from context that a marche blanche is a sort of organized, silent, memorial service.

May 22, 2020



Exact; after the death of someone - usually someone young.

It originates in the march that took place in Belgium after the Dutroux case: https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marche_blanche



Portent-ils des vêtements blancs ?


During the original march, yes. As well as silence, it is a symbol of "neutrality, innocence and dignity".


D'accord, maintenant j'ai lu l'article. Alors, les pleureuses portaient à l'origine des costumes blancs, symbolisant l'innocence.

Merci encore. Prenez un lingot.


There is no "answer" option below your last message so I'm answering here.

You could find "Pleureur, -euse" in old French litterature too, but it's more about persons hired to cry during funerals, or persons crying a lot (see: https://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/pleureuse). Now, in the way it is used, the meaning is pejorative, as I told you.

I don't think we have one word for "mourners". Usually one would say : personnes en deuil, personnes endeuillées ; parents et proches du défunt (relatives and friends of the deceased). Here it's even more than that because the people who march are not necessarily close to the deceased, they may just sympathize and protest against what they see as police violence.


Of course. "En deuil" and "endeuillées" make sense. I believe that the old English word "weepers" was also used for hired mourners. That practice is no longer common, which is probably why we don't say it anymore. (although there was a company in the UK called Rent-a-Mourner that managed to stay in business till 2019)

The article you linked was interesting, but I noticed that it did not use any such term. It referred to "marcheurs" and to "participants", which makes sense for what they are describing. (They were not so much mourning as protesting.) I guess I would now say "les marcheurs portaient à l'origine des costumes blancs, symbolisant l'innocence."

This has all been very helpful.


Yes, those would be the best words to encompass all the "participants" ;)


"Pleureuse" means "crybaby", it's quite pejorative.

They wore white on this specific occasion, so maybe "historically" is a bit strong. I don't think that people still wear white during a "marche blanche", but this expression has become generic.

My pleasure, je vous en prie :)


I am learning many interesting things today.

What do you say then to describe those in mourning? ("mourners" is the most common English word for this)

"Weepers" is an older English term but it has mostly gone out of use. I made the incorrect assumption that the French might use a word like that.
(to weep = pleurer)


Final remark: "vêtements blancs" rather than "costumes blancs". Costume (FR) means either "costume" (when you dress up; it is then a synonym of "déguisement") or "suit" - not so much the case here. :)

Very happy to help, thank you for your inputs too!

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