Friday, April 10, 2009

Spanish Funerals

I had my first Spanish funeral this week.  It wasn't anyone close.  I had actually never met the woman who passed away from old age.  My attendance necessitated by my relationship with the deceased's niece, I went to see how the Spanish approach death.  Macabre, I know.  But I've, unfortunately, attended my fair share of funerals, and watching how people mourn now intrigues me.

The best funeral, if there is such a thing, was my grandfather's.  He said: "Cremate me and throw a party," which we did at my aunt's.  Relatives, both long-lost and close-to-home, came to celebrate his life and offer support to my grandmother.  It must be the Irish blood because in my family we like to drink and tell stories about the dead.  That was the only one like that - the others usually began with a few days of waiting for people to gather for the viewing; followed by a religious service, a few words of admiration from certain relatives about the deceased, the burial, and then a meeting at someone's house after to drink and remember.  When I tell this to my Spanish friends and relatives they look at me aghast and disgusted.

Here: the deceased is to be in the ground within three days of passing.  To honor their memory, a solomn meeting is held the day before the funeral.  Everyone clad in black, there are no stories, only weeping, and the loss of the person is told by the number of tears streaming down the cheeks.  The next day a mass takes place with a few verses read by a priest as the body is laid to rest inside the stone cemetery walls located far away from the city, and then every one returns to their seperate homes.  For the Spanish, there is nothing to celebrate, only saddness, and its best to get it over and done with.

No comments:

Post a Comment