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14 April 2009 @ 08:17 am
Help me?  
Maybe it's just being tired, but I can't remember what this thing is that I've heard of before.

I know it's rare, but there is, in some culture/religion/something, a tradition of holding an overnight watch over a coffin/dead person. What is this called? I can't seem to find it by googling anything...

Unless I'm imagining it?

Okay, time for bed. Hugs to everyone!
alienor77310alienor77310 on April 14th, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC)
It's called "holding a wake", as in "Finnegan's Wake", I think.
Gelseygelsey on April 14th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
lyonzalyonza on April 14th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
Finnegan's Wake is a piece of music but alienor is on the right track. Have a look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wake_(ceremony), I think its what you have in mind. Christian ceremony from the 8th or 9th century.
writersblock76 on April 14th, 2009 12:32 pm (UTC)
Great minds. ;-)
lyonzalyonza on April 14th, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
Heh :)

Fools seldom differ ;)
writersblock76 on April 14th, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC)
*lives in denial*
alienor77310alienor77310 on April 14th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
It's also a book by James Joyce. In the song you mention, if I remember correctly, Finnegan was just dead drunk, and woke up in time to enjoy the party...
lyonzalyonza on April 14th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
I don't really know the song, just saw reference to it.
alienor77310alienor77310 on April 14th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
Gelseygelsey on April 14th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
Hee. Thank you, hun!
writersblock76 on April 14th, 2009 12:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, a wake was my first thought as well. Historical usage of the term, not modern. The wikipedia page confirms it, I think.

Edited at 2009-04-14 12:31 pm (UTC)
Gelseygelsey on April 14th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
Cool, thank you!
myownmuggle: Celtic Crossmyownmuggle on April 14th, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC)

It is a wake, though the exact details may take different forms depending on the religion of the people involved. My family, for example, is Catholic. When my grandfather died, the Knights of Columbus from his lodge stayed with his body 24 hours a day until the mass and subsequent burial. They were in their full ceremonial uniforms, essentially standing guard of a beloved brother lost.

The same thing happens, at least in my experience, when a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty. The Border Patrol deaths that I have dealt with have all had this done. A team of agents (usually two at a time), stand watch over their fallen brother at all times until he is buried. It's actually pretty moving.

Of course, with my Dad's family being Irish and my mother's family being French Canadian, any wake is likely to involve copious amounts of alcohol and rampantly exaggerated story telling.

Edited at 2009-04-14 12:34 pm (UTC)
patricia_writes: Rosespatricia_writes on April 14th, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
Those are really beautiful examples. And I'm not just saying that because of the alcohol.
Gelseygelsey on April 14th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
That is really touching. I like it.

Alcohol sounds like a good addition too, lol.

Thank you!
Subversa: Spring Gardensubversa on April 14th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
I believe it is also part of Jewish practice, Gels, that the body is not left alone before burial. You might ask Machshefa about that.
Reetriskellion on April 14th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
Sitting Shiva, I believe its called.
Gelseygelsey on April 14th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Cool! Thanks :) I was pretty sure it was something done in more than one religion... I just could not, for the life of me, figure out what it was called.
patricia_writes: Heartwoodpatricia_writes on April 14th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC)
This might be helpful: http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/Health-Support/Grief-and-Loss/2001/05/Transition-Rituals.aspx

Buddhism: When someone is dying in a Buddhist home, monks come to comfort them by chanting verses to them, such as:
"Even the gorgeous royal chariots wear out; and indeed this body too wears out. But the teaching of goodness does not age; and so Goodness makes that known to the good ones."

After death, while the dead person is being prepared for the funeral fire, the monks continue to chant in order to help the dead one’s good energies to be released from their fading personality.

The monks come with the family to the funeral. The family and all their friends give food and candles to the monks. Goodwill is created by these gifts and it is believed that the goodwill helps the lingering spirit of the dead person.
from http://www.buddhanet.net/d_cermon.htm
Gelseygelsey on April 14th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
Very nice. Thank you!
babsbybend: sunrise over Pilot Buttebabsbybend on April 14th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
It's also done in Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol", during the time of the Ghost of Christmas Future. The Crachetts take turns sitting with Tiny Tim's body.

I think it's pretty ubiquious in most societies, for a number of reasons:

1) while rare, it has happened that the dead aren't really dead, but in a coma. (My dad used to read me Edgar Allen Poe stories at bedtime, and News of the Weird reports of such happening from time to time. There were post-mass grave survivors from epidemics and concentration camps),

2) it helps the attendents to get some form of closure. (In one of the Anne of Green Gable books, as I recall, someone during the watch ranted at the corpse for all the abuses done while alive, while over the puddle, the Crachetts took the time as their lack act of love for Tim.)

3) Back in the day of body stealing (and selling to colleges and medical schools or mob mutilations), it was a way to protect the body until the grave digging/funeral arrangements could be finished.

All that said, there are some religions that believe that the body should be buried/cremated within a day.

Gelseygelsey on April 14th, 2009 09:23 pm (UTC)
Hm, I didn't know that one about "A Christmas Carol"! Very cool.

Thank you so much. Very useful information, and I think I can use some of it.
babsbybend: sunshinebabsbybend on April 14th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
Sorry I don't know the word for it. I can't remember what Dickens used for it, if he did.

"The Crachetts did it as their LAST act of love." (Where did the "lack" come from?)

Funny thing about Scrooge being a time traveler, and hanging out at alternate universes. (Tim dies, Tim lives.) Who knew!
Gelseygelsey on April 14th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
That's okay! Everyone's being very helpful.

Lol. I figured it out :) I sure didn't think it was lack :D

Oh, that's just too funny! Bwahaha. AU!Scrooge!
babsbybendbabsbybend on April 14th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
**thinks of possibilities of AU!Scrooge, and checks fanfiction.net. Nada!**

There is a book at my store, that I ponder buying: "A Carol for Another Christmas". The (whatever) of Happy!Scrooge ends up in modern-day Seattle, when a high-tower business executive woman says, "Bah, humbug".