A businessman walking on a sidewalk

 

Written by Samantha Watson

 

When you need a house painted, you hire painters. Toilet broken? Call the plumber. Electricians take care of that light switch that won’t work.

 

But did you know that you also can hire mourners to come to your funeral?

 

Professional mourners, also called moirologists, have been around for hundreds of years. Though not as popular today as they used to be, and even less popular in certain cultures than in others, it is still possible to hire mourners today.

 

To some of us, this concept may seem absurd. Why do people hire professional grievers? Shouldn’t the family and friends be the only ones who attend their loved one’s funeral, out of respect for them?

 

Though there are a variety of possible reasons for hiring mourners, the most common ones are:

  • To make it appear that the deceased had many friends.
  • The deceased have very few living relatives and friends, but those remaining want there to be more people at the funeral.
  • In some cultures, there is a tradition where mourners wail and lament the dead. If some are uncomfortable doing this themselves, they hire someone else to do it for them.

So what do these professional mourners do when you hire them? It depends largely on your requests, your culture, and what the professional mourning company or mourners are comfortable doing.

 

If you’d like, you can hire them just to physically be there at the funeral so that the number of people who attend the service is larger. Most modern mourners will wear black clothing and stand there discreetly, perhaps even shedding a few tears.

 

If it is customary in your culture for mourners to wail (in Ireland and Scotland, this is called keening, but it also is seen in many other cultures) and you would like for your professional mourners to do that, many are willing to oblige.

 

In some cultures, departed spirits must be appeased by sufficient wailing in order to move on to the next stage, whatever that may be in each culture. Hired mourners become very handy in situations where families want to ensure that their loved ones move on but are unable to or unwilling to do the wailing themselves.

 

In most cases, if you plan to hire any mourners, you would want to meet with them beforehand to discuss your wants and needs and talk about your terms and payment.

 

Would you ever hire a professional mourner? Let us know in the comments below.