Monday, 23 February 2009
Italian funeral traditions
My bisnonna - Great Grandmother - passed away a few days ago. She was 93 years old and was actually a great great grandmother to my nephew...there aren't many people who could say they are a great great grandmother!
For along time she has lived in a nursing home due to very poor health and in the end she could not even speak or think clearly so it is better this way.
My great uncle also died a few months ago while I was in Italy and my twin sister asked if the funeral procession would be driving past my great grandmothers home. I had no idea what my twin was talking about, and why she would ask such a bizarre question but she said when our great uncle died the funeral procession drove past his home. It is apparently tradition in some parts of Italy (and other countries) that you have to leave the front door or a window slightly open to allow the spirit of the dead person to leave should they still be inside their home.
Our great uncle (grand fathers brother) and our bisnonna (grand mothers mother) were both born in Puglia, Italy and once in Melbourne they all lived surrounded by Italians. My twin said that when the funeral procession passed his house all his friends were outside waving goodbye to him as the Hurst drove pass. This is a lovely tradition but in my great grandmothers case the procession will not drive pass her house as she has been in the nursing home for many years.
I was looking on the Internet for some information about this tradition and did not come across anything in particular as it seems there are so many different ways people arrange funerals. I myself have not attended a funeral since my great grandfather passed away many years ago, so perhaps it is befitting that the next funeral should have been for his wife.