Finnish funeral, how to?

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ilikepeanutbutter
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Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by ilikepeanutbutter » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:59 pm

Sadly we've had a person close to the family pass away, and we'll be attending the funeral. It will be a church funeral also. Is there anything special I need to know about Finnish funerals?

Also why do they not bury their dead until about two weeks later?

Thanks for any help.

Katrina


Do you have time to hear about our Lord and Savior Chin Chin? :twisted:

Finnish funeral, how to?

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EP
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by EP » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:08 pm

Also why do they not bury their dead until about two weeks later?


Arrangements take time. It could be even longer, last winter my brother was buried three weeks after his death. That was because he needed an autopsy. Well, not he but the law.

No special rules for funerals. And anyway it differs a little if the dead one is cremated or not. Just wear black, buy flowers and look what the others are doing.


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Pursuivant
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by Pursuivant » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:16 pm

ilikepeanutbutter wrote:Also why do they not bury their dead until about two weeks later?


In the olden days it wasn't unusual if someone died in the winter they'd get buried only after the spring thaw.
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Jukka Aho
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by Jukka Aho » Fri Sep 25, 2009 12:22 am

ilikepeanutbutter wrote:Sadly we've had a person close to the family pass away, and we'll be attending the funeral. It will be a church funeral also. Is there anything special I need to know about Finnish funerals?

I’m sorry for your loss. You might want to take a look at this page; the sections titled Burial place and funeral customs, Funeral service, Flower arrangements and greetings, and Memorial service.
 
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onkko
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by onkko » Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:00 am

Basicly it goes like this.

You go in church/chapel and there is traditional "from earth you have come and to earth you will become" stuff, close relatives can then make speaks and put flowers on coffin.
Then you move with cars depending where cemetery is, if next to you then of course not. (remember if you see convoy like this you should stop and take your hat off, even if youre with car)
Then closest family will carry body in grave, priest says something and you can say goodbyes. This is informal. Grave will now get temporaty stuff on it
Then you move to somewhere where memorials are kept, depends on what is arranged, and there all "handshake" or hug closest. People make line like good finn do.
Also in memorial priest and/or others talk about life of died, sing and stuff. People have then something to eat and coffee of course.
Later after memorial close relatives will take care of shoveling grave full.

Black/dark formal dress, nothing too fancy needed and look what others do.

Im not expert but thats how my mom funeral went. I may have forgot something but thats how its basicly is.
There can be regional differences.
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biscayne
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by biscayne » Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:04 am

I had occasion to go to a few funerals in Finland, basically it was the same as Ireland (lots of boozing later on), but one thing which was interesting, and I liked it very much, was the photo taking. They took photos of the family and friends lined up against the coffin and at the graveside etc., photos of friends too. Later the funeral photos were displayed on the walls at home, or on sideboards etc., just as any other photos would be. I liked it, I thought it was a very typical Finnish pragmatic approach - the death is as inevitable and normal a part of life as birth, marriages, taxes etc. It happened at 3 funerals I went to, not just one, so it must be a normal tradition. I think it is great, but when I told some other foreigners they were horrified, especially at the photos being taken beside the coffin. I liked it so much, that we did it when my dad died. I wanted to remember his death and celebrate it. So, kudos to Finland for that.


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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by DMC » Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:33 am

biscayne wrote:basically it was the same as Ireland (lots of boozing later on)

No Finnish funeral I have attended had any booze at all. Afterwards something has been served, ranging from coffee & cake to a full meal, but no booze. This has been at the church hall or similar rather than at the family home as is typical in England.

one thing which was interesting, and I liked it very much, was the photo taking.

Yes, that seems to be a regular part of proceedings. Personally I dislike it. Many people are not going to be at their best at the funeral of a loved one. To me it seems cruel to record their unhappiness.

In Finland it seems relatives carry the coffin into the church and then to the grave. Normally in the UK the pall bearers are provided by the funeral director. Also there seems to be a lot more "show" here - the whole formal thing in the church of taking turns to place flowers on the casket seems for example. There isn't anything drastically different though. Anyway, wear black and copy others and you can't go far wrong.


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rinso
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by rinso » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:17 am

Also why do they not bury their dead until about two weeks later?

Often people have to come from further away. They also must have time to make travel arrangements. Attending a funeral easily means you're away from work for 2 or 3 days. That's way funerals are mostly held on Saturdays.

It is not uncommon to take pictures during a funeral.


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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by Pursuivant » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:33 am

DMC wrote:Many people are not going to be at their best at the funeral of a loved one.


I think it is on the contrary - the only few times people *are* at their best. And all the family - even remote relatives - together at once. It was the time to hire the village photographer in the old days. Modern people just have more cameras.

DMC wrote:In Finland it seems relatives carry the coffin into the church and then to the grave. Normally in the UK the pall bearers are provided by the funeral director.


That is if you have 6 men in the family available - they have ushers available if theres not enough or you get only old guys and little kids...mmm.... I think women aren't carrying in Finland.
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Jukka Aho
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by Jukka Aho » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:48 am

DMC wrote:
biscayne wrote:basically it was the same as Ireland (lots of boozing later on)

No Finnish funeral I have attended had any booze at all.

Being a native, I’ve been to a handful of Finnish funerals. The only drinks served at those were non-alcoholic; typically milk and kotikalja – the traditional soft drinks of the standard Finnish pitopöytä fare. Water and juice may also have been available.

DMC wrote:
biscayne wrote:one thing which was interesting, and I liked it very much, was the photo taking.

Yes, that seems to be a regular part of proceedings. Personally I dislike it. Many people are not going to be at their best at the funeral of a loved one. To me it seems cruel to record their unhappiness.

The primary idea, as understood by Finns, is not really “to record someone’s unhappiness” in an inappropriate way (paparazzi style!) but to record the event itself, the floral arrangements, and the attendees, many of which might be relatives and family friends you don’t often get to see. Pictures (or video recordings covering e.g. the musical performances and speeches) are given to the closest family members of the deceased who have lots on their mind on that day and might not remember many of the details afterward. They are also shown to those – especially elderly relatives – who would have liked to attend but couldn’t make it because of the distance, or for health-related reasons, or for some other obstacle.

There was some discussion on this very subject on Phil’s blog some years ago. (Edit: That blog entry seems to have lost its comments along the way – and those comments were the reason why I originally linked to it. Here’s an archived copy with the old comments still intact.)
 
Last edited by Jukka Aho on Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by Pursuivant » Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:03 am

Yeah, boozing at the funeral? Doesn't compute. Maybe then some of the folks retire somewhere then *after* the occasion, but usually congregation/banquet halls are "lemonade". And even at the weddings you wait for the priest to leave before you start visiting the car boot... all that temperance stuff.
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biscayne
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by biscayne » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:46 am

Yes, I should have clarified that. After the funeral (at all 3) there was coffee/cake/sandwiches etc. served. But after the more distant friends and relatives left, the "core" group decamped to a close relatives home and there was serious drinking.


biscayne
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by biscayne » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:08 pm

Although, in Phils blog on this subject, a Finn does comment that the only difference between a wedding and a funeral is one drunk less, and this is what has been my experience of funerals in Finland. That and the SO who loved getting into fights with his relatives while drunk at a family funeral.....


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ilikepeanutbutter
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by ilikepeanutbutter » Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:03 pm

Thanks everyone for your help.

Kat
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Re: Finnish funeral, how to?

Post by Karhunkoski » Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:06 pm

Kat, my condolences.

Most has been covered above. Although if your man is going to be carrying the coffin (which also involves lowering it into the grave), and he's not done it before, it might be worth him checking things with someone who has. It's fairly straighforward, but it's worth knowing beforehand how to thread the strap over your shoulder, and which hand should go where etc.
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