Monday, March 29, 2010

Funerals around here

I went to a funeral this weekend. Generally I am not a funeral person. Never have been. My family is not funeral people either, we just don't go. Apparently the first funeral I went to was my Maternal Grandfather when I was a few months old. After that I did not attend one until I was an adult and my ex-wife's grandfather passed away. It is interesting to read about how different cultures deal with their funerals and what religions say about the "afterlife". One has to wonder what is real or not, frankly I hope to end up in Valhalla, but it is doubtful as I am not a warrior.

It is interesting, however to see how these traditions are done in this country, in the various regions, religions and families. As stated I am not a funeral guy. I like being the person to stay in the house while everyone goes to the ceremonies. I am sure all of you have different traditions, so if anyone ever comments on the blog, please let me know what you know.

The southern baptist of rural South Carolina experience: People bring food to the house. More food than can be eaten by several extended families. Some of the best fried chicken I have ever eaten. Visiting hours are at the local funeral home, afterwards the "ladies of the church" have a dinner for the family in the church basement. The family then goes back to the house and eats more food. The service at the church is two part. The first part is prayers and various people talking and so on. The the casket is brought out back to the church graveyard, and another short service is done, the body is lowered, then everyone goes to the church basement for more food. After that everyone goes home.

Around here: People bring food to the house, most of it not home made. Calling hours at the funeral home, usually two shifts or two days. Family goes back to the house and has some food. The funeral is at the church, and prayers and stuff are said. Then graveside services can be that day or later on, which is another service, but they tend not to drop the body while people are around, as they do above. Then the family and friends go back to the house for a dinner arranged by the "ladies of the church". Alcohol can be served at this event. The biggest thing is calling hours, most will skip the funeral.

This past weekend, I went to an Irish/Polish funeral in Massachusetts. Went to the house the day of the wake, there was food ordered from a local deli. Some brought by neighbors. The family went to the funeral home a half hour before it opened for a private service. Then people came through for a few hours. Then the family and friends go to the house and drink and eat. Several people brought gifts during the wake, usually alcoholic. Then later a bunch goes out to bars for more drinks and food. The services start at the funeral home, with a casket closing service for family and close friends. Then all travel to the church for the service. This was Catholic, so full smells and bells with communion. The group then goes somewhere else for a catered dinner with full bar. This lasts a few hours. The back to the house and off to other bars.

Don't know how representative these are. Not much experience.

I really don't want any of this. But if I die before my wife, she will want something. I am not a religious guy, nor one that likes ceremony. Won't be buried. Just harvest my usable parts and cremate me. I could build a box for my ashes. But I know where I want my ashes to go. So have a drink when I go, sing a few songs ( I have a list somewhere) and have fun.

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