There many different funeral rituals all over the world. However, in most western civilization these tend to be the same no matter the country. Of course, there are some exceptions to this so called “trend”. Some countries have minor differences which are the result of leftover customs from long time ago. These traditions are kept alive in a way that their original significance is not lost in proceeding. Nonetheless, there are some countries where tradition has endured the passing of time; that is the case of Scottish memorial services.
Despite the fact that Scottish funeral services have indeed changed a bit with the passing of time, mainly due to new laws, country regulations, better health measures and convenience of course, the core of this old tradition remains unchanged.
The roots of the Scottish tradition can be traced back to the ancient Celts who deliberately carried out rituals about death. Celts believed that the best death was achieved in combat or warfare. You can see more plaques from distinct memorials: plaques scotland. Only if they died this way, they could be reincarnated into another world to finally rest. Celts also believed in an artifact called “Cauldron of Rebirth” which could ‘revive’ the dead.
When it came to memorial services, bodies were washed and wrapped in burial cloth. Sometimes these were also burned. Either way, bodies and ashes were put into tombs (stone chambers or simply underground). It was tradition to bury a person with personal objects. As time went by, traditions were altered and women of the deceased family were forced into washing the body, wrap it in burial clothes and place it in the casket.
The history of the Scottish Gravestone
This tradition has survived all the way to the present. Nowadays, some of the very ancient traditions have prevailed. For example, most corpses are laid out for several days (no longer than 7). Also, someone has to watch the body 24 hours a day (tradition states that this prevent the Devil or evil spirits from taking the soul and body of the deceased). Likewise, its mandatory to leave a window open to allow the soul to depart. During these days, family from all over the country has to come pay.
Furthermore, in Scottish memorial services, there is a lot of food and whiskey. It is a requirement that the family of the deceased prepares enough food and drink for everyone. This was an issue for poor people who had to raise money in order to pay for the festivities. Dancing was also allowed at the end of the service. This was a way to feel cheerful about the end of life.
Today, this memorial service called “Wake” still persist. It has been altered, for instance regarding the amount of days the corps is displayed. But the dancing, eating and drinking is still maintained. Also, processions still do happen. Bagpipes have become a mandatory item for most funerals in Scotland.
It is very interesting to see how Scottish Memorial traditions have endured. If you are Scottish, you should feel very proud of your heritage.