Two times in a span of two weeks I’ve been to a Roman Catholic Funeral. One was Cart’s distant relative and the other was his uncle.
While a sad event, Cart was comforted that they both lived such long lives, reaching to almost 90 years old. For me, as it was my first time attending a funeral of this type, it was interesting to see the differences in culture and compare it to the ones that I was used to.
Briefly, this was what happened :
We reach the church in a sombre coloured outfit, and time, a hearse will be driven in and then about 5 men wearing a dark coloured suits will carry the coffin into the church.
We then sit at the pews and the priest, wearing a purple robe (there is a symbolism for each colour) will enter, and start the mass by reading some verses and we were supposed to sit and stand at the right moments.
Nearing the end, the priest would invite the attendees to come forward for them to eat a wafer. After that, he’d eat a larger sized wafer and drink wine from a gold cup and then wipes it with a silk looking cloth.
Finally he goes towards the coffin and out of a utensil, he shakes holy water out of it to the coffin and then after that, smoke from a swinging incense burner.
The 5 men in suits then carry the coffin away in the hearse to the final resting place.
While the customs are very different from what I’m accustomed to in funerals, the smell of the incense brings me memories during my close relatives’s funeral. Even though I didn’t know them well, I can’t help but to feel emotional.
Sidenote : As morbid as this sounds, when I think about death, I tend to wonder how it would be when I pass on. There doesn’t seem to be much helpful information about Muslim funerals here in Rome.