Historic Funeral Traditions: Bahamian Burials II

Bahamian vault graves on San Salvador Island

Are you appalled by the idea that a family or community might re-use grave sites as mentioned in the previous Bahamian burial article? Or, perhaps the condition of the Bahamian cemeteries and grave sites might disturb you. If so, pick up the book, In Small Things Forgotten, by James Deetz to learn more about earlier American burials.

Historic Funeral Traditions: Bahamian Burials I

At the beginning of month-long graduate school archaeological dig in the Bahamas, one student asked what the class would do if a body were found during the digs. One professor responded, “Call the authorities, because that body would not be an antiquity.”

Notes on the Old-Fashioned Home Funeral

…She began to tell me about how my great grandmother’s casket was draped with roses, and about the black lace dress that she wore to her grave.

Funeral Director, Mortician and Undertaker: Any Difference?

Unless you work for a funeral home, or unless you have an obsession about death and dying practices, you may wonder if there is a difference between a funeral director and a mortician or a mortician and an undertaker. For all intents and purposes today, there is no difference – especially if the funeral home is a small family operation. But, in larger funeral home operations, you might see a slight difference in what each job traditionally entails.

Germany’s Burial Traditions

Deathcare.com already offered a short article on American-German funeral traditions, which have become assimilated – for the most part – in American traditions based upon religious beliefs. But, in Germany, burial traditions often are different than those in other parts of the world, and have been so for generations. But, changes are in the works, and some of the following traditions also contain explanations of changes when known.

Historic Funeral Traditions: American Germans

Did you know that Americans of German descent outnumber those Americans of Irish and English descent? The first Germans to arrive in the New World were those who settled in Jamestown, Virginia in 1608. However, the most significant influx of Germans to American occurred during the nineteenth century, with settlements in New York and Pennsylvania.

Funeral Music: Henry Purcell and the Death of Queen Mary II

A funeral and the attached loss of life to death often is characterized through music. Although many people today do not have music composed specifically for a death, this effort was not uncommon a few centuries ago, especially when music was called for during the death of a Queen who was beloved by her subjects. Hence, the “funeral Music for Queen Mary,” written by Henry Purcell (1659-1695), music that remains popular even today.

Presidential Eulogies

When President Barack Obama delivered his eulogy for Senator Ted Kennedy during the senator’s funeral this past weekend, he was not the first president to deliver a eulogy. Some of the most poignant eulogies for fallen politicians and extraordinary citizens were delivered by previous presidents over the past quarter century, including Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush.

Plumage, Social Means and Funeral History

We’ve written about motorcycle hearses and have eluded to the hearse in general throughout this blog. But, the history of the hearse is just as fascinating, as horse-drawn hearses basically have gone the way of other practices that fell to the industrial age and the automobile. However, horse-drawn hearses have a particular short-lived history – at least in America – that was based upon social class.

What is a Eulogy?

Did you know that eulogies often were written in high praise or commendation of a person? Today, eulogies most often are associated with funerals, but the word derives from the Greek eu, meaning a combination of “good” or “well” and “true” or “genuine” and logy, or a termination of nouns referring to writing. The eulogia in the Greek Orthodx Church was a blessing. Today, the eulogy is known as a speech or writing in honor of a deceased person.