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Snoopy's avatar

Are you aware of any little known customs/traditions specific to certain types of funeral/burial services?

Asked by Snoopy (5798points) October 1st, 2008

I just learned about this. 3 shell casings may be placed in the flag that is presented to the family at a miltary funeral.

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8 Answers

aidje's avatar

I like the idea of a Speaker for the Dead. One could consider it “little known” in the sense that it’s, uh, not actually a custom.

Snoopy's avatar

@aidje Can you explain what that is….?

gailcalled's avatar

Most of this is known to Jews. Sadly I know too much about it. Sorry I couldn’t condense better.

“Most well organized communities offer the services a sacred burial society (Chevra Kaddisha), which will prepare the body for burial. Men prepare men and women prepare women. They wash the body with warm water from head to foot and, although they may turn the body as necessary to clean it entirely, including all orifices, they never place it face down.

The body is dressed in white burial shrouds , which are purposely kept simple to avoid distinguishing between rich or poor. Men are buried with their prayer shawls, which are rendered ineffective by cutting off one of the fringes. If, however, a person suffered an injury and blood soaked into his or her clothing, ritual washing is not completed. ”...the blood of a person is considered as holy as his life and deserves proper burial,” . From the moment of death, the body is not left alone until after burial. This practice… also based on the principle of honoring the dead. A family member, a Chevra Kaddisha member, or someone arranged by the funeral parlor passes the time by reciting psalms as this person watches over the deceased.

Traditional Jewish funerals are very simple and usually relatively brief. Before they begin, the immediate relatives of the deceased – siblings, parents, children, spouse – tear their garments to symbolize their loss.”

Me; For conservative or reform Jews, before the service, the family assembles privately and the rabbi pins a black grosgrain ribbon on everyone, tearing it in half to symbolize the rending of garments.

Snoopy's avatar

@Gailcalled. Thank you for sharing this info….I found the reference to special circumstances surrounding the descendants of (the family) Cohen especially interesting. I wonder how many “Cohens” there are in the US to whom this exception would apply….?
Have you ever encountered this…?

gailcalled's avatar

The info about the Cohens I did not know. After one burial I attended here a few years ago, all the mourners walked backwards away from the grave after the coffin was lowered into the ground. I was told that that was also an act of respect.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I heard about a custom (I think it used to be in the middle east, might still exist) where if a man is to marry a third woman (either through polygamy or after his wives have died) because three is considered an unlucky number, he would marry a tree, and then the tree would be dug up and burned and then he could marry a third woman (which would technically be the fourth marriage). I’m not sure if this is true or not, but I heard it and I thought it was cool.

ckinyc's avatar

In Hong Kong (Cantonese), funeral usually last 2 days. The family members are require to wear brand new all white clothings and shoes. After all the ceremonies are completed. They must change into their normal clothing before they go home. If it was a “bad” death (such as painful, accidental death, young age etc), they will burn all those white clothing they wore during the funeral. If it was a “good” death (natural, old age etc), you may keep them.

thegodfather's avatar

In Otavalo, Ecuador, the deceased is left in the place where he/she died for at least 24 hours, and the surrounding neighbors enter the place and usually seat themselves around the body. The family of the deceased will cook food, usually a kind of soup, and serve the visitors. The body is then transferred to a coffin, but the vigil continues until the funeral.

I know this because I was living there and while visiting a family, their 93-year-old mother/grandmother passed away in her bed. Immediately, the family cleared space around this bed and neighbors immediately began to come to the home and participate in the vigil. The vigil didn’t stop until the funeral; I was amazed at the show of community at the time of her passing.

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