Exploring the History of Memorial Cards

Mar 25, 2024

Exploring the History of Memorial Cards

In the midst of grief and loss, we often find solace in commemorating the lives of our loved ones. One enduring tradition that has provided comfort and remembrance for centuries is the use of memorial cards. These small tokens, sometimes known as mortuary cards or memoriam cards, hold a profound significance to memoralise our loved ones who have passed away.

Origins of Memorial Cards

The roots of memorial cards can be traced back to the Victorian era, a period characterised by strict mourning customs and elaborate rituals surrounding death. During this time, it became customary to distribute printed cards to announce a death and to invite mourners to the funeral or memorial service. These cards typically featured sombre designs, often incorporating religious imagery or symbols of mourning such as black borders and funeral motifs.

Evolution and Spread of Memorial Cards

As printing technology advanced and societal attitudes towards death evolved, memorial cards began to take on new forms and styles. In Ireland, memorial cards became particularly prevalent, reflecting the deeply ingrained cultural tradition of honouring the deceased. Families would personalise these cards with photographs of their loved ones, along with verses of poetry, prayers, or meaningful quotations that encapsulated the essence of the departed.

Symbolism and Significance

Memorial cards serve as tangible reminders of the lives that have touched ours and the memories we hold dear. Beyond their practical function of conveying information about our loved one, these cards carry emotional weight and symbolic meaning. They provide a tangible link to the past, preserving the legacy of those who have passed away for future generations to cherish.

Modern-Day Usage

In today’s digital age, the tradition of memorial cards remains as poignant as ever, and the printed cards continue to be a popular choice for families. At Lir Cards we offer memorial stationery with a range of customisable options, allowing families to create personalised tributes that reflect the unique personalities and passions of their loved one.


Memorial cards, in all their forms, serve as enduring symbols of love, remembrance, and celebration of life. From their humble origins in the Victorian era to their widespread use in contemporary society, these small tokens carry immense significance for those who mourn the loss of a loved one. As we continue to navigate the journey of grief, let us take comfort in the timeless tradition of memorial cards, knowing that they serve as a lasting tribute to the lives we hold dear.

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