Cultural Spotlight: Brazil

 

Written by Jenny Goldade

 

Here in America and in most of Canada, we have funeral traditions that have stood the test of time for decades, even centuries.

 

But our traditions are vastly different from those in other countries and cultures.

 

This article looks at Brazilian funeral traditions and is part of a series that highlights how different cultures care for their dead. Other parts of the series are about Viking funeral traditions and Maori funeral traditions, among others.

 

Note, these traditions may vary depending on the individual and their own beliefs.

 

Funeral Service

In Brazil following a death, the funeral viewing usually happens within 48 hours of death. The funeral is usually held at a velorios, a building used for mourning deceased family and friends, and aren’t typically held at a family member’s home.

 

Rather than celebrating the life of the deceased like at Jamaican funerals, Brazilians believe the funeral is a time for feeling sadness and pain, not celebrating. It’s common for family and friends to express their grief through wailing, loud crying, or even kissing and hugging the deceased.

 

Brazilian funeral attire is more casual than funerals here in America, as wearing jeans instead of dress pants is acceptable. Funeral flowers aren’t a common memorial gift for the grieving family, and food and beverages aren’t usually welcome at the funeral service as it takes away from grieving the deceased. Both cremation and burial are common death care methods, although burials are the most popular option, unlike in America where cremation has surpassed burial rates.

 

Live Funeral Webcasts

Since the funeral occurs a short period after the death, that leaves little time for far away family and friends to travel to the funeral service location. That’s why many Brazil funeral homes offer online streaming of funeral services. It’s estimated that 10% of Brazilian funeral homes offer live video streaming as an additional service to their families, also known as “social media funerals.” In some cases, anyone can view the funeral webcast on the funeral home website, or the funeral home will create a password for viewing the video if the family wants it to be private.

 

Mourning Period

Even though the funeral service happens quickly following the death, the mourning period lasts for a longer amount of time. Family and friends may choose to mourn together by having memorial and grieving events for loved ones to attend. During the mourning period, close family members or friends of the deceased’s family should help them out by doing their laundry, dishes, and other household chores.

 

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