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Fernandez Funeral Traditions


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During my grandparents life funerals where a private ceremony for the family and close friends, that involved little to no fan-fare. There would be a wake in which someone from the family would always stay by the body. The wake could last up to a few days depending on the burials capabilities of the local cemetery. Usually the wake was held in the families living wrong, which almost seems like an oxy-moron. The family would receive the condolences and everyones well wishes, then move on to the next step in what seems, based on my grandfathers description, as a very time consuming endeavor.

          One has to understand that a lot of people in Cuba practice mixed religions. For example, they believe in spirits and bad omens, but also believe in Christ and all the saints. This is a product of the mix in culture from both native people of the island, Spanish people from Europe, and African beliefs, all of which are not uncommon on the island. So at the funeral of one of my ancestors you might be able to see three or even four different customs being practiced simultaneously.

          This is all in all not a bad thing when take at face value. It does though leave my familys lineage in customary anarchy.  That is to say that there is not one particular way to describe their funeral or burial beliefs other than to say they incorporated many other beliefs systems.

          As my grandparents grew older things in Cuba began to change, whether it be for the better or worse that is irrelevant to this argument, my grandparents found themselves to be lucky enough to be able to move to the United States. This was a great thing for them, but in terms of their customs it left a lot to be desired. My families beliefs began to change and assimilate with the customs of Anglo-Americans. Mainly they idea of a small gathering started to become a thing where funerals where now attended by everyone who knew the deceased. My grandfather remembers a particular funeral in which over 200 people pilled in a small funeral home in Yonkers, New York. 

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