Cultural traditions around death

One of my best friends is living in Singapore with her husband’s family, and she just told me that her husband’s paternal grandmother passed away on Tuesday after a number of health problems. She was 88 — seems like a nice, long life to me since no one in my family who has passed has even successfully made it past 80. As per the cultural tradition, the four days following her death are a long wake, during which family and friends come and pay their respects at all hours of the day to view her body. Someone from the family has to be there (and awake) the entire time, so the close family members take turns staying awake until the day of the funeral, which is this Friday.

There are so many cultural traditions around death in the world that are so diverse and complex. I know I probably couldn’t personally handle most of them. One of the traditions Chris told me about was that in Maori death custom, if a mother passes, her daughter must stay with the dead body for 48 hours straight.

When I heard that, I thought, I don’t even think I could go even a fourth or a fifth of that with Ed’s.

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