7 Mar 2009

SMILEY SATURDAY - Sicilian funerals

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I don't know if it still exists in Sicily but in the past professional morners were engaged for a funeral. These were women whose job was to sob and cry as loud as they could while showing an immense grief and sorrow sitting around the coffin. When the payed time was over they went away took up their normal lives and chatted and laughed and counted the well earned money.

It came never in my mind that I would assist to such a funeral, but I did. The only difference was that there weren't professional mourners but the sicilian husband himself. While following the coffin of his wife, he sobbed and cried so loud that people all around could hear it even when they were very far away on the street. We tried to calm him down, it was as if all the deads would wake up with this noice, but that didn't work, it was part of the show.

When the coffin was out of the van and stood there, he throw himself on it, banged his head on it again and again, so that I feared he would get brain damaged if he wasn't already and was looking for a cold bottle of water to cool his red front before it turned to a blue bruise. When he had finished with banging his head, he started with his fists and hit and hit while crying out lout "Why, why, why ?". Now people from northern Europe are not used at all to this exaggerated manifestation of grief and when I looked around I saw scandalized faces and eyes as big as saucers. But that didn't bother him. As quick as this special mourning show had started as quick it was finished. He liftet himself up, brushed his trousers, and told the waiting intimidated little group : "Now lets eat something" and that was what we did. The restaurant's name was "Amusing place".

The only thing which surprised me was that his wife in the coffin didn't bang back !

Afterwards at home I realized the comic of the situation and I laughed so hard that I cried !

9 comments:

Puss-in-Boots said...

Actually that would be quite funny. My problem would be to stop myself from laughing while at the funeral! We have Sicilians living next door to us. A lovely family, no funerals so far, but there was a wedding last week. Four weddings and a funeral??

diane said...

How interesting, unfortunately it sounds like play acting and not real but I guess there must be some real grief involved. At least it gets it out of their system quickly so that they can continue to enjoy life.

Grampy said...

Grief is a funny thing. It is handled differently by everyone.

Maribeth said...

Heavens! What a thing!

DianeCA said...

Oh my goodness!!! A Siclian head banger! Yes culture is different in different areas of the world..and my family thinks I am bad at funerals because I am 'a cryer'!

Vlado&Toni said...

hey we also have this professional mourners in the philippines. they are called crying ladies- usually filipino -chinese families or chinese descent families practice this. it really is amazing to be in one of those funerals. almost funny but also sad.- i mean why don't the real relatives and friends do it themselves.

Pamela said...

Maybe there is some relief with the physical and emotional exertion.

I didn't know you could hire mourners... I know it was done in biblical times

claudie said...

ha! ha! The husband couldn't forget the Sicilian tradition! He had to continue the ritual! Pour mon beau père nous avions une amie de la faùille martiniquaise et devant le cercueil elle a parlé longuement à mon beau père comme s'il était vivant à moitié en créole! c'était aussi très surprenant! Bon je reprends le chemin de l'école! Hier c'était une grande réunion familiale pour l'anniversaire d'une petite cousine! j'espère que je vais me remettre à bloguer sérieusement maintenant!

Lifecruiser said...

Ha ha ha! What a sight! Yes, how awkward for us to see someting like that. I'd perhaps have laughed already there and not when coming home, which wouldn't have been so nice!