Finnish funeral

Listen to little birdie’s station

Alatornio grave yard

The reason we had this trip to North at the beginning of June was not so happy: my husband’s grandmother passed away and we went to the funeral. Well, when one reaches such a nice age (she was 93), sooner or later the body will say that’s it and the soul has to go and find another one that is fresh and he can use it for a new lifetime. Mummu is a very nice person and I hope she found a good place and she is doing great.
Amiert felmentunk Eszakra junius elejen, nem valami vidam: a ferjem nagymamaja meghalt, es a temetesere utaztunk. Nos, amikor az ember ilyen szep kort er meg (93 eves volt), akkor elobb-utobb a test azt fogja mondani, hogy ennyi! es a lelek pedig elmegy, hogy keressen egy masikat, egy frisset, amit tud hasznalni a kovetkezo eleteben. Mummu nagyon jo teremtes, es remelem, jo helyet talalt maganak es jol van.

I didn’t take any photos in the church during the ceremony, but I can tell you that it was quite different from what I have seen in Hungary.
Bent a templomban nem fotoztam, de azt meg kell mondanom, hogy elegge mas volt a szertartas, mint Magyarorszagon.

First of all, the closest male family members (my father-in-law, his 4 sons and 1 grand-son) wore white tie, instead of black. That is customary so up there in Finland.
Eloszoris, a legkozelebbi ferfi csaladtagok (aposom, 4 fia es 1 unokaja) a fekete helyett feher nyakkendot viseltek, ez Finnorszagban igy szokas.

The coffin was also beautifully covered with white silk. In Hungary, traditionally, only children or young girls would be buried in white, everybody else in black.
A koporso szinten gyonyoruen be vont vonva feher selyemmel. Nalunk hagyomanyosan csak a gyerekeket es a fiatal lanyokat temetik feherben, mindenki mast feketeben.

In Hungary, when the dead is still on the bier (catafalque, I don’t know which word is more common), their body is not covered so that people can take a last look at them when saying goodbye. It is in a separate small death house in the grave yard and the whole procession to the grave starts from there, after a memorial and covering the coffin. In older days and in certain places still today, relatives especially women would keep vigil: they would stay with the deceased even the whole night and often they would also sing.
A magyaroknal, amikor a halott a ravatalon fekszik, meg nincs letakarva, hogy meg lehessen ra vetni egy utolso pillantast, amikor a hozzatartozok elbucsuznak tole. Mindez egy kulonallo kis hazban van, es az egesz temetesi menet innen indul, megemlekezes es a koporso lefedese utan. Regebben, es sok helyen meg ma is, a rokonok, foleg nok virrasztanak: az elhunyttal maradnak esetleg egesz ejszaka is, es sokszor enekelnek.

Here it was different: the coffin was already covered and only the closest family members could go in the death house. From there, the men had to take the coffin and carry it into the church where relatives and other people are already waiting.
Itt mas volt: a koporsot mar elozoleg lefedtek, es csak a legszukebb csalad mehetett be a ravatalozoba. Innen a ferfiak vittek a koprsot a templomba, ahol a tobbi rokon es masok varakoztak.
During the ceremony, all the people who are present go up to the coffin in the middle of the church and lay their wreaths around the coffin, reading out loud what is written on the ribbon. One family after the other, this way everyone can hear who came to honor the departed.
A szertarts alatt az osszes jelenlevo odament a templom kozepen fekvo koporsohoz, hogy elhelyezzek a koszorujukat, hangosan felolvasva, mi allt a szalagon, egyik csalad a masik utan.
I figured that this might be a reason why a Hungarian funeral is much more emotional than a Finnish one: here one had to be aware of what is happening, go up there and read something aloud while everybody was watching and listening and it certainly requires a greater presence of mind.
Arra gondoltam, hogy ez lehet az egyik oka annak, hogy egy magyar temetes sokkal erzelemdusabb, mint egy finn: itt mindenkinek tudatosan kellett kovetnie, hogy mi tortenik, kimenni oda, hangosan felolvasni valamit, mikozben mindenki figyel, es ez minden bizonnyal nagyobb lelekjelenletet kovetel.
There was a song almost everybody was singing that I particularly liked: Herra kadellasi
Egy enek kulonoskeppen tetszett nekem, amit majdnem mindenki enekelt.
And then again, from the church, the men carry the coffin to the grave and only the closest family goes with. The rest follows a bit later.
Aztan a templombol szinten a csalad ferfiai viszik a koporsot a sirhoz, csak a szukebb csaladdal. A tobbiek egy picit kesobb mennek utanuk.
Alatornio grave yard

One more big difference was that in Hungary, they have the memorial at the grave – this is what I remember. And when the coffin is already in the ground, everybody (or at least the closer relatives and friends) would throw a handful of soil on it, before the undertakers do the rest and when the tomb is ready, people put their wreaths on it. Here they just put the coffin in the grave, covered it some plastic that gave it a tomb shape and the flowers went ot that. The undertakers will finish the burying later.
Meg egy nagy kulonbseg, hogy Magyarorszagon a szertartas a sirnal folyik le – ahogy en emlekszem. Es amikor a koporso mar a foldben van, akkor mindenki (vagy legalabbis a kozelebbi rokonok es baratok) radobnak egy marek foldet, mielott a sirasok elvegzik el a tobbit, es az emberek a mar kesz sirhantra teszik a koszorukat. Itt pedig csak berakjak a sirba, befedik valami muanyaggal, ami sirhant format ad az egesznek, es arra kerultek a viragok. A sirasok majd kesobb fejezik be magat a temetest.
Of course, I will not post here the family photos, only these ones from the grave yard.
Termeszetesen ide nem rakok fel csaladi fenykepeket, csak ezeket a fotokat a temetorol.

Alatornio grave yard

My next post will be more cheerful, I promise. What do you think about Finnish sauna, let’s say?
A kovetkezo bejegyzesem vidamabb lesz, igerem. Mit szoltok, mondjuk, a finn szaunahoz?


*****

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4 thoughts on “Finnish funeral

  1. Hi, I was browsing the Web and came accross your site. I am pretty new to blogging and everything but it seems pretty fun. Great blog. Well, keep on blogging! I’m try to explore my lovely town now, with tradition life..please check it out. Could we exchange links ?Rgds // < HREF="http://jogja-on.blogspot.com" REL="nofollow">-@- Visit Jogja<>

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  2. Sad the reason why you had to head nortwards, but it gave opportunity for a very interesting and informative post. Glad to learn all that; and the Finnish June sky looks gorgeous…

    Like

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