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Fernandez Funeral Traditions
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Family Funeral Practices

          There has been so much change in my families beliefs in the last 100 years that it was almost impossible to decide what where the three most important issues to discuss. However, while change may be infinite the time and space that I was allowed for this research paper is not. The three main things, that I have decided, that have changed the most in the course of my familys existence are location, religious beliefs, and family closeness.

In researching the customary funeral beliefs of my family through interviews with my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles I have discovered one prevailing occurrence. Over the course of time the only thing that maintains any sense of continuity is the idea of change itself. Since change is an almost relative term it is hard to say that my family has had large amounts of change compared to another but it has had change nonetheless.

          To understand my familys funeral ceremony today it is important to understand the Cuban-American funeral customs in general in Miami. My family, like most Cuban families, believes it is important to remain with the body until it is interred. While at the funeral home there is crying, yelling, and some reminiscing. I will be getting back to the aforementioned later in the research paper because that is one topic that has changed drastically since my grand parents generation. Last but not least is the gathering after the burial where music is played, food is eaten, and arguments ensue.

          Gathering to eat was a major custom even back in Cuba. The eating part is what American people might call a wake. Even though people are mourning they are also rejoicing because more often than not the person lived a long full life. If the person died young my family has always been able to justify it with well god needed them, or some other religious cliché. In 80 years that had not changed food and religion the two givens of a Cuban funeral. Many of the customs my family practices tie in together and some even explain why things are the way they are.

My family originally is from Spain, however, they have resided on the island of Cuba for more than five generations, and so for the sake of this papers basic concept I will refer to my familys native land as Cuba rather than Spain. My grandparents grew up in Guines, Cuba, a small farming town that was and is very poor, they where simple people with a simple way of life. They lived in time before communist dictator Fidel Castro ruled all facets of the Cuban way of life. Life was simpler in those times in comparison to the times of my parents faced.

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