In some cases, the priest officiating the ceremony may even place a crown made of paper on the head of the deceased. Special cakes made of wheat and fruit, called Kolyva, are usually blessed and then served to guests. A wreath of laurel, yew or boxwood tied with crape or black ribbons was hung on the front door to alert passersby that a death … Why Is Friday the 13th Considered Unlucky? This continuing grief is a unique way of acknowledging that the pain of losing someone does not end after the funeral service. When a death occurs, the family will grieve for three days in the family home. They also believe that there are good deaths and bad deaths. Many reasons for this are cited, including a symbolic de-emphasis of self to focus on the departed or to indicate a withdrawal from society during the mourning period, but the Victorian rationale might have been a little less rational. If the deceased led a pure life, flowers grow over the grave, signifying his or her entrance into Heaven. This is the chance for family and friends to reminisce and mourn together over food and drink. But according to Russian superstition, families believe that the spirit of a deceased person remains on earth for 40 days before it ascends to heaven. During this time, they will cover every mirror with a black cloth, and stop all the clocks in the house as well. Fear of Premature BurialDuring the 18th and 19th centuries there developed a morbid fear of being buried alive, which lead to the invention of various devices with which would hopefully alert people to the fact. Russians have unique rituals surrounding death and mourning that help mourners process the loss, and help pay tribute to the life of the deceased person. The idols of deities and mirrors at home are covered with a piece of red cloth or paper so as to avoid offending them by “exposing” them to death. The origin of this superstition is the idea that an angel sits on our right shoulder and the devil on our left, each urging us to do good or evil, respectively. Within days of each other? In the 1800s, people took great care with mirrors. This one has many modern adherents because it is impossible to disprove. After Death Rituals As soon as death occurs, someone must guard (A guard is called a Shomer) the body at all times until the funeral, frequently done by the Chevra kadisha. This can be quite different from American Christian funerals. In Early Modern Britain references to flowers being incorporated into burial shrouds are more common, often so as to compensate for the smell of a decomposing corpse. Interestingly, many people now believe that tossing salt over their shoulder simply brings them luck, with no connection to the previously imagined peril.

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