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Thread: Death

  1. #1
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    Default Death

    “Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.”

    Oscar Wilde
    ================================================================


    A friend of mine lost her mother to cancer a few weeks ago, after a long bout with the illness. My question is what is the procedure, culture, custom and ritual pertaining to death, bereavement, and loss here? In other cultures they sing songs, reminisce, joke, cry. Have the wake one day, funeral next day, sometimes same day(with respect to religious convictions). The times I did see Dominican funerals they were televised or recorded. I recognize crying obviously. To my eye their emotional response appeared to be staged for the camera so I didnt know if people actually behave that way or they are capturing dramatic effect.

    What is the procedure for the wake? And then the interment? Is it moderated by religious ritual or cultural one?

    If they do sing songs, what songs do they sing? What are the normal dirges? Any examples? I dont think they would do "Amazing Grace" would they? Is there a eulogy? And who eulogizes? Where is the wake normally? Funeraria, Home or Iglesia? Pall-bearers?

  2. #2
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    Condolences to your friend.

    In my limited experience to this culture, it seems that Dominicans spend more on their dead that they do for their living.

    If your friend is from a Catholic family then there will be a 28 day period of mourning. Prayers every day at the family home. Which will be attended by all of the family, friends of family, distant relatives, the milkman, the man who once said hello to the milkman....etc. After prayers, then free food and drink for everyone who turns up.

    After the 28 days, then prayers at the home every month. This goes on for a year, and then there is another gathering on the anniversary of the death.

    A bit OTT for me. I've expressly told my missus that when I shuffle off my mortal coil, I don't want any fuss. Have a good knees up and feed me to the worms.

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    Yea, it was somewhat informative but a little depressing. I had my mind set principally on two things: music and food. For example, when my aunt, a school teacher, died in 2003. It was a real ritual celebration. They called it a "Homecoming". As a matter of fact that is how it is generally considered. So, what is normally done is that friends and family of the bereaved make a dish or two(maybe a caterer), bring it over to the house or reception hall(depending on how popular the deceased was and how large the guest list will be). People reminisce over the deceased, maybe sing a song or two. And it goes on like that until the day of interment.

    Wake: Depending on church or funeral parlor, the procedure is different. Funeral parlor, the guests come and view the body say their final respects and generally socialize. In a church(I love these), the deceased gets a eulogy and then the choir sends them off in regal fashion, singing 2 or 3 church songs that the deceased loved the best(or whatever the musical director can play with ease). But in a big city and an elderly congregation the choir is usually top-choice when it comes to singing "farewell to thee" type of songs.

    Typical song you d see at a "Homecoming" in the US
    <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/6YMF86irxeM?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/6YMF86irxeM?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

    The interment is the simplest. Arrive at the cemetery, say a prayer, lower the body, throw on the dirt, back to the reception center.

    In comparison to what I saw with her family, I was disappointed. First there was no offering of food to nourish the afflicted. There were no songs(that I was looking forward to). Just a bunch of people staring at the floor, holding rosary beads.

    Later there was a scene I think is normal here but I thought it was disrespectful to the mother. One of the daughter was all yelling "Ayudame Senor, porque Ud. tomara esta vida vibrante de nosotros?" Now come on, what little old lady was she looking at? This woman was so sick she couldnt eat. Anyone who can go the whole day and just drink one glass of water after passing 20 minutes to muster up the energy just to sit up did not have a high quality of life. And she wasnt able to drink it all. I saw it, the daughters had to hold the glass for her. You have to bathe her because she cant use the bathroom? I was comfortable when she passed, I find the Homecoming concept pleasing. When you are in as much pain as I figure she was, if there is another place to go where this pain doesnt exist, I am glad you are going there.
    Last edited by RacerX; 12-13-2010 at 09:59 PM.

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    hmmm....it depends..but most of the time theres a procession til the cemetary...rows and rows of cars and people marching....

    people do tend to be buried rather quickly....

    theres prayers on the 9th day after death....then yearly on the day of the death....but official mourning is 28 days--so no colored clothes and daily prayers, though some hold it for literally years. some of my aunts mourned their mother for 40+ years..

    back in the day they used to have professional cryers to go yuk it up and make a scene. nowadays its not as common but you still hear of it now and then.

    most lower class funerals feature someone screaming "nooooooooo whyyyy god whyyyyyyy?" as they writhe on the floor. then they usually have to be injected w a calmante.

    people tend to stay overnight at the velos/wakes. and overnight is when all the jokes are made. its not uncommon to hear people laughing their asses off all nite in the funeral home or home or wherever the wake is held. people start telling stories of their youth, of the deceased, etc....its lots of agonizing mixed with lots of laughs, but of course, it depends on the family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
    “Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.”

    Oscar Wilde
    ================================================================


    A friend of mine lost her mother to cancer a few weeks ago, after a long bout with the illness. My question is what is the procedure, culture, custom and ritual pertaining to death, bereavement, and loss here? In other cultures they sing songs, reminisce, joke, cry. Have the wake one day, funeral next day, sometimes same day(with respect to religious convictions). The times I did see Dominican funerals they were televised or recorded. I recognize crying obviously. To my eye their emotional response appeared to be staged for the camera so I didnt know if people actually behave that way or they are capturing dramatic effect.

    What is the procedure for the wake? And then the interment? Is it moderated by religious ritual or cultural one?

    If they do sing songs, what songs do they sing? What are the normal dirges? Any examples? I dont think they would do "Amazing Grace" would they? Is there a eulogy? And who eulogizes? Where is the wake normally? Funeraria, Home or Iglesia? Pall-bearers?
    On my visit to POP in May, which was the first time I was taken to my boyfriend's neighborhood Los Sufridos and introduced to his family, one of his uncles passed away. So we attended the wake and funeral. The wake lasted several days and we visited the family throughout this time.The wake was held at the departed's home and most of the family came in from the country side and from other cities in DR, the family provided what hospitality they could and neighbors pitched in bringing food and drinks to offer etc... I was welcomed in and introduced to all the family. There was no video taping or televising etc... the emotions were genuine there were lots of prayers and crying and the sister of the deceased was beside herself with grief and needed to be supported to walk to the car for the funeral procession. The service itself was very quick and we all proceeded to the cemetary amongst the honking horns of downtown, causing a traffic jam, blocking off much of the roads on the way...and the immediate family surrounded the plot and flowers were laid, then the casket was placed into the wall and sealed off with very little ceremonious undertaking etc... It was an experience for me, because it was my first time visiting DR outside of the AI bubble, first time meeting my boyfriend's fam and I was introduced to more of them than I'd have hoped to meet in years otherwise and had a unique opportunity to partake in a cultural experience. Although an unfortunate one at that.

  7. #7
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    But why the crypt and not the ground?

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    there isnt space on the ground in the central POP cemetary anymore. so they build upwards. dunno about anywhere else.

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