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Funeral Etiquette

I am fully expecting to get flamed by the Scots for this one ! But Today I attended a very dear friends funeral , until today I never knew that in my part of Scotland it's not acceptable to attend the burial if you are female . It's ok to go to the service , it's fine to go to the wake , but attend the interment , oh no way . Despite the fact that at the service it's self there was a 50/50 mix of the sexes , when it came to the burial , women were around less than one to ten of the guys . Where it was left in no doubt to us both by muttered comments and glares , believe it or not us half a dozen women who did attend stood between 6-8 metres back from the nearest guy , that's how unwelcome we were there , now whilst my friend being buried was truly Scots , he would never have stood for us to be treated in such a way as he was both a gentle man and a gentleman , if that makes any sense . He was a great guy despite being in a reserved occupation he choose to join up anyway , was a Royal marines sniper , truly the last person you can imagine doing that job , but he'd seen a woman locally , get gunned down by a German plane in front of him , this was what made the gentlest man imaginable join up and do what he felt he needed to do . Despite over 40 years in age difference , I considered him a true friend , I will miss him so much , all I can do now is support his wife as best I can , and hope it's enough .
Illiteratetroll Illiteratetroll 46-50 10 Responses Feb 23, 2012

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I attended my Uncle's cremation.

So sorry to hear of your friend passing. Personally I think funerals from visitation to burial are weird and I find it hard to attend appropriately. I doubt it is because I am a woman. But wow - weird custom.

I can't believe that sort of thing still happens.

Interesting, I didn't know others do this as well. Muslims do this too.

So do we Hindus....you will RARELY find a woman attending the cremation of a person....even if she is the wife or mother....its really uncommon for a woman to go to the funeral. The logic which the 'society' gives is that women wouldn't be able to tolerate the sight of a beloved person's cremation......I think its all Bull Crap though

It used to be the same in Wales

I'd just never come across it before this, it still shocks me!

It shocked me too. I couldn't go along with the tradition because it so aggrieved me, and luckily it has mostly (excuse the unavoidable pun) died out now

It's still the 'norm' here.

There can't be any formal law that says women can't be at the graveside, and I'm sure the tradition didn't start out as a deliberate snub to women, though it does seem like it to modern English people.

No law, just the way it's done. I haven't a clue how or why the tradition first started but the women would usually go from the church straight to the wake, whilst the guys would go to the graveside first. Those of us that didn't adhere to this practice were made to feel we shouldn't be there, as though it were shocking that we weren't in our proper place.

I think women tended to just go and make the food and pour the sherry

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I've never heard of that before, was it a methodist funeral ? Or is it all faiths in Scotland have this ?

It was church of Scotland, it seems to be all faiths.

Not all faiths. I'm a Christian and women are permitted at the burial....and in my personal experience......they are also given cords to lower the coffin (mainly decorative since nowadays the graveyard workers take the weight but still nice to be included). I live in central scotland and I've never heard of this but obviously cant speak for all areas!

Sorry I should have said its not faith dependent. May be local custom but its certainly not widespread throughout Scotland.

I'm on a remote part of the West coast..............

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So that is what you would call a cultural traditional thing i suppose.

Yep! It's a tradition I intend to break when ever I have advance permission from the deceased, I was so incensed I've started asking my friends if they will agree to me breaking tradition when they die, so far all have agreed it's a bloody stupid tradition that needs to vanish!

I didn't know that about Scottish interments.

I'm very sorry for your loss, I have lost a best friend many years ago, it hurt like hell, I wrote a story about it, 'Not since I was ten years old'

Ihope you have other good friends.

It's very kind and thoughtful of you to think about your friends wife.

I hope the pain of losing your friend is easing by now.

It is, I just found the whole set up so shocking because it wasn't what I'm used to.

I am sorry for your loss. Hugs. I cant believe how the women are getting treated. I would have also gone, as you did anyway. Its sad that this is still happening and I pray one day,it will stop. Age does not have a limit when it comes to being a friend. And you being there for his wife, will mean a lot to her.

And I will , I loved them as a pair , Ann is going to need all the support she can get once her family goes home , plans are already in preparation for this I can assure you . All to often people forget , just leave others to get on with it on there own , doesn't happen here , not amongst my friends , so at the moment we are holding back , because family is around , next week different story , there are a handful of us who will get her out and about , by hook or by crook if necessary .She is much loved , as was he , and we will do our utmost .

You a truly a good friend. She's lucky to have you helping her.

I hope you've stayed in touch with his wife. The months after the funeral will seem like the toughest of her life.

As it happens I saw her Saturday, we are going to get together for coffee either this week or next week.

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I am sorry I had never heard of this either. I don't know whether to be outraged that this is so or just allow it cos it's culture. Nah, it's just long held tradition that hasn't caught up with the modern way. I am sorry for your loss and I am sorry that the funeral - a service and institution which I think is essential in the grieving process was marred for you in this way. Grieving communally is a comforting experience - gender has nothing to do with this.

It's ok , I've since spoken to his wife , who just couldn't manage to go because she is so heartbroken , she is glad I went and has said Bob would be too , so it don't matter to me what anyone else thinks , so long as he would have been ok with it no one else's opinion matters , whilst I never said a word about how us females were treated at the graveside , I wouldn't need to Ann will have known exactly what it is was like and thanked me all more for going , bless her . You really could never have hoped to meet a better pair of people in your lifetime , and I feel blessed to have known them both . Now the main focus is supporting Ann once the family goes home next week , and doing our best for her .