A "wake" for the dead harks back to a more antiquated meaning of the word: "watch" or "guard," rather than the "become or stay alert" definition that the word now carries. The term refers to the Anglo-Saxon tradition of holding all-night vigils and praying over the deceased.Know More
The practice of holding wakes originates from a combination of two ancient Anglo-Saxon traditions. Early Christians held annual celebrations in commemoration of the completion or dedication of a new church or parish. These celebrations were known as "wakes" and involved feasting, sports and dancing. The following day would be recognized as a holiday by that parish and the night in between would be reserved for overnight prayer and meditation in the church.
Alongside the religious wake was the tradition of "waking the corpse," which has its origins long before Christianity. This practice of holding an all-night vigil over the body of the deceased involved mourning chants and sharing the life story of the deceased. The practice has its roots in superstition, suggests the Encyclopaedia Britannica, citing a fear that evil spirits might harm or otherwise steal the body. These superstitions, coupled with practical concerns about rats and other vermin disturbing the body as it was prepared for burial, met with the above Christian tradition and soon the all-night vigils over the dead began to involve prayer, effectively combining the two forms of "wakes" that were practiced at the time.Learn more about Holidays & Celebrations
Condolences, flowers and food are appropriate things to bring to a wake. Food and flowers may be given to the family before the wake itself. Condolences can be send ahead of time or brought to the wake.Full Answer >
According to the Emily Post Institute, business-casual attire in dark or muted colors is most appropriate for a wake. Dark gray, navy blue or black suits are appropriate for men. Women may wear dark pants with a blouse or modest dresses in colors such as deep purple, burgundy or forest green in addition to black, navy blue or charcoal gray.Full Answer >
It is possible to have a funeral on a Saturday. Many families choose to have funerals on a Saturday because it allows friends and family to attend who would have difficulty attending the funeral otherwise.Full Answer >
The food that is served after a funeral is typically determined by location and tradition, according to Esquire magazine. The food is often based on the family's ethnicity, or it may be whatever food is most convenient to feed people easily. Dishes that provide comfort are also served.Full Answer >