Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Vincy funerals

Every Wednesday on local television news there is a segment called "This is who we are". With all the funerals I've attended in the past five days the evolution of the Vincy funeral is foremost in my mind.

With death came the third night, ninth night and forty days wakes and buns and hot chocolate. As a child I recall accompanying various relatives to wakes and being admonished for mimicking the movements of the Spiritual Baptists. It's been a long time since I've heard of any wakes being held so I want to believe they are no longer a prominent part of the funeral culture. These days apart from listening the death announcement on radio you can also view it on television which I find a little offsetting.

Funerals were always a social event which saw persons rekindling old friendships. This was more pronounced when persons who had migrated came back for the funeral. No funeral was complete without the obligatory gathering at the rum shop where the men would down their grief in one, two, three or four drinks. I am not sure when things changed but these days funerals are synonymous with a big feast rivalling those at weddings.

It is not uncommon for the "after party" to be held at a community centre or some other place that can comfortably accommodate the guests. On hand will be lots of food such as sandwiches, curried goat, baked chicken, callaloo and whatever else the relatives choose to put on the menu. It goes without saying that a well stocked bar is a common feature of the celebrations. Despite the obvious cost to this activity it seems as if it is here to say. As one friend said the funeral budget has to incorporate the "after party" or it's just not a budget or a funeral.

yeah i've always found the after party to be irritating... if it's someone close to me who's died i usually just want to be left alone...

so yeah... i never go unless its absolutely necessary...
i've noticed it here in JA too... funerals have become more closely affiliated with 'celebrations of life' instead of mourning/grieving death... and sometimes it is even deemed unfashionable to grieve at all!

Oh how the times do change!
we decided not to go that route last year. i mean people trying to grieve i wasnt looking to entertain at that point. to be honest i coulda done without the few cousins and aunties that came by as well.
It's a Belizean thing too. The funeral and repast are like night and day. Funeral is very somber and sad. The repast is full of energy and chatter, not to mention lots and lots of food. No Belizean gathering of any kind is every complete with rice and beans, stew chicken and potato salad. and let's not forget, some ind of open bar.
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