Friday, December 18, 2009

Funerals in Spain

As depressing as death is, somehow here in Spain (Catalunya is no different in this respect, unfortunately) they’ve made it even worse. When someone dies here, the goal seems to be to get the body into the ground as quickly as possible. Perhaps this is a left-over from the days before refrigeration. The funeral is literally the day after the person dies. Relatives overseas? Too bad. (The concept of overseas relatives doesn’t really occur to most people here.)

Since there’s no time for preparation, the funeral itself ends up being something similar to a very very depressing Las Vegas wedding. The priest quickly reads a bunch of stuff from his book and 15 minutes later the coffin goes off into the crematorium, there’s a puff of smoke, and that’s it. On the way out you see the next family already lined up and ready to go. Everyone is expected to shut up and spend lots of time crying. No speeches about how wonderful the life of the person might have been or music, or anything like that. I’ve heard people blame Catholicism, but that’s a bit unfair, eg Ireland being the most obvious counter-example.

If you don’t want this to happen to you, make sure you make your plans explicit, since there is it is a complete shock to anyone from here that you might want something different.


trebolín said...

What do you wear? Got one coming up involving spendthrift bohos married to grim country Catholics.

santcugat said...

Dark suit. Look sad. Hopefully the Catholics will keep the wailing to a minimum.