"Funerals, Wakes and Bereavment" etiquette Tip by Scarlie

etiquette, Sofia: 13 reviews and 11 photos

Loss and pain are not expressed everywhere the same. The traditional way is very vocal, with lots of public display of grief, which can be baffling for more northern cultures. Older people are especially prone to loud grieving.

The funeral is usually within 3 days, so you'll probably have very short notice. Black attire is not compulsory but make sure the clothing is sombre. No bright colours (reds, yellows, greens, etc.) -- gray or dark blue will do. Make-up is not always appreciated, so if you can't go without, make sure it is the bare, bare minimum. You can bring flowers, but make sure they are not fancy bouquets (fancy is the operative word).

Services are usually at the cemetery, altho there might be a mass. After the ceremony, it is customary to file in front of the open coffin and bow. Then you offer condolences to the family. Most people are given little black lace to wear on the lapel as a sign of bereavement.

We do offer food (boiled wheat is the traditional, but also bread and pastries) after the funeral, very often at the grave, and it is not polite to decline. It is for remembrance of the dead.

Wakes are held at the 3rd, 9th, and 40th day after the death, and then on the 3rd, 6th and 12th month. Visiting the grave at those dates is usually for the relatives; friends, neighbours, etc., are optional.

We do not have the custom of sending cards or letters to the immediate family. If you, however, feel like it, you could certianly do it (if you don't receive a reply, it is not a sign of bad intentions, just not the custom).

For those who are interested in social psychology or ethnography, there are some very interesting customs. The mourning chants are very descriptive and can even be perceived as gross by some people,

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 26, 2002
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