Word origin - "Wake"
Asked by: sebastiangard-ga
List Price: $10.00
04 Sep 2002 07:41 PDT
Expires: 04 Oct 2002 07:41 PDT
Question ID: 61620
Why is the gathering before a funeral called a wake?
Re: Word origin - "Wake"
Answered By: morningstar2000-ga on 04 Sep 2002 08:17 PDT
Dear Sebastian Wakes are a very old tradition of the Irish/Celtic people. Wakes were customarily held the day before a funeral or burial of the deceased. It was actually a watch over the deceased to see if there would be an awakening. The time during the wake was for family and friends to come and view the body and pay their respects to the deceased as well as the family. It was a process of cleaning and laying out of the body for burial. Women from the town who were experienced in this process would come and assist the house. Wakes were held in the house of the deceased. It has only been in recent times that the viewing or laying out of the body was held at a funeral home. It was not uncommon that a wake would turn rather festive and party like during the midnight hour. Common games were "riddle me ree" and " Priest of Parish". It seems that music and stage play gave the family some relieve from the all night watch and helped in the grieving process. Storiestellers were common as well. This is taken from the American Funeral ( http://www.ccgsilib.org/american_funeral.html ) THE WAKE Methods of confirming death were crude. Stories of burying life persons were not uncommon. In an attempt to prevent premature burial, families would sit by the body for several hours or a few days watching to see if the person awakened. This became known as the wake. In the Jewish tradition, this became a religious ritual known as the watching. They even have special benches used exclusively for this ritual purpose. During the wake or watching, families would be joined by friends. Today, this tradition is carried on in the form of the viewing or visitation. Additional resources: Wakes http://www.castlestoshamrocks.com/holidays/wakes.html A site devoted to origins of words and slang phrases. http://www.wordorigins.org/wordorw.htm The American Funeral http://www.ccgsilib.org/american_funeral.html wake http://www.bcpl.net/~hutmanpr/wake.html#Wake%20basics Search Strategy: Wakes Origin Funeral Wakes Origin Celtic Wake origin Hope that helps, morningstar
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