Hispanic culture is vigorous, rich, spirited, and abundant in color and life - full of vibrant customs and traditions which dates back through centuries of cultural influence.
The Hispanic is very family oriented. Considered as the most important unit, the concept of the nuclear family is not popular among Hispanics, and extended families - referred to as familia - are considered the norm. Yes, the Hispanic family bond is strong.
Catholicism is deeply-rooted among the Hispanic, and plays a vital role in influencing their culture. They have a deeply religious regard for death and this is particularly evident in their funeral ceremony.
Hispanic Funeral Ceremony
The typical Hispanic consider the funeral ceremony as an important part of life. The visitation, in particular, is a time to bond with family and honor the loved one who has passed. The wake normally starts later in the day and is held at the family’s home and is followed by a service at a Catholic Church the next day.
During the wake, food like pastelitos, coffee, and pan dulce are often served. Flowers and candles are used to decorate. The wake is also an opportunity for family and friends to visit the home of the deceased and offer prayers. The family in mourning receives sympathy, gifts, and condolences. It is a time for mourners to drink, eat, comfort, and reminisce together in grief.
The burial takes place after the funeral ceremony, where family and friends gather at the cemetery. Graveside services performed by a priest is important. Live mariachis and music are also present. After the service, family and friends gather to pray, share a meal, and remember their loved one who has passed.
Cremation is still not a popular option among Hispanics due to their strong Catholic influence, but those who go for cremation often place the cremated remains at a church or cemetery to adhere to the Vatican’s guidelines on the conservation of ashes.
After the Burial
Mourning doesn’t end after the burial. Honoring and celebrating their loved long after the funeral and burial is important. Here are some examples:
- Novenarios - Novenarios are recitations, prayers, or masses that family and close family members perform for 9 consecutive days after the funeral or the burial. This is meant to give comfort, and to pray for the soul and eternal rest of the departed.
- Anniversary of death - A mass and reception on the anniversary date of the loved one is set up.
- Special Days - Death is a deeply religious event and is revered in Hispanic culture. Holidays are set aside to pay special respect to the dead.
- All Souls Day (November 1st) - Families gather to pray, attend mass, and visit their loved ones at the cemetery. On this day, they also clean and spruce up their loved one’s grave or memorials.
- Día de los Muertos (November 2nd) - also called as the Day of the Dead. It is believed that during this day, the souls of their deceased loved ones return to their families. The holiday is a celebration of their return
Planning a Hispanic Funeral
Hispanics are now embracing celebrations of life, and our compassionate professionals can help you plan such meaningful expressions of grief and love. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that every unique life should be conveyed beautifully through a meaningful service. We are here to help you plan a unique service that will honor your traditions and the wishes of your loved one. We specialize in honoring traditional family customs while adding small, personal touches that will make all the difference.
At Meachem & Rowland Funeral Home, Inc., we are experts at creating these moments for you. Get in touch with us.