"you probably think a wake is just another Irish piss up, a few beers around the corpse and an open coffin."
Thats exactly what is is in my experience.
"But amongst the Celts this ancient form of death-sharing lives on."
Celts wtf? We Irish are slightly more inbred that on the continent but the entire European population has been thoroughly blended for 100's of years. No-one is a Celt. No-one here would ever mention ancient demographic groups in reference to modern day events.
Stopped reading after that.
This is not true. There’s more than a bit of population substructure within Ireland. Norman and English names are over represented among Fine Gael politicians, Gaelic derived ones among Fianna Fáil. The people in the Northwest are visibly different than in Leinster, more red heads (Celts), more people who could pass as Spanish ( the pre-Celtic population).
And the idea that European populations have been thoroughly blended is absurd. If you walk into an Aldi in Limerick you’ll see the same as as in Leipzig albeit in a different language. The girl looks German, not Irish. And Norwegians don’t look like Portuguese.
I have a similar experience of wakes as you - they are quite often a damn good piss up and quite rightly so.
As to the Celts thing, that is rather more complicated. In England there is a pejorative term: the "Celtic fringe" which probably doesn't help here! Celtic-ism seems to me to be a bit of an amalgam of some real historic fact and rather a lot of rose tinted, backwards glancing pseudo nationalism and a lot of bollocks. I won't go further on that, otherwise this comment will become an essay but as you say: "... ancient demographic groups in reference to modern day events" - where's the relevance: we've moved on a bit since 55/54BC etc?
(I'm a Dubliner and I would accept the label.)
I think that Celt is generally confused with Briton (Preton/Pretanike - Pytheas) thanks to some fanciful thinking over the last few hundred years. You might also notice: Britany - a region of modern France. The "indigenous" Britons were duffed up by various invaders. The Scots migrated from Ireland and the Picts went the other way etc etc. Angles and Saxons, Norwegians and Danes farted around at various times (we had a King Knut/Canute famous for talking to the sea - he didn't really - he was emphasising how the sea is unstoppable (or was he!)
These isles off of the left hand side of mainland Europe have a pretty complicated history but perhaps not as complicated as say what we now know as France, Germany, Italy and co.
The Celt thing is a bit ambiguous at best ...
Wakes for young people are very very different and difficult as are wakes for people who died before their time or who have left young families behind.
And you're right about the word Celt being bullshit but we definitely consider ourselves distinct in culture.
Uh, and you were doing so well. That meme should crawl in to a corner and die.
I stopped reading after that. (It was the last thing you wrote :) )
“Stopped reading” usually means you fixed an interpretation of what the author said and presumed the rest without giving them the courtesy of actually verifying what they wrote is what you think it is. That’s rude and a cognitive bias that weakens quality discourse.
I wouldn't go that far. Both of my grandfathers died in the last 3 years, one in suburban Dublin, one in a large country town. Both had wakes with the body laid out and dozens or hundreds of people coming to pay their respects. I agree it's no longer the universal custom it once was, and it's dying out - or perhaps ebbing, to come back into fashion in another generation.
I find the article to be as much about the preparation for death by the dying as it is about the remembrance of those left behind. The willingness to accept it as a normal thing, a celebration of life.
I wouldn't say it's that far gone. If there's one thing that Irish (and for that matter, Scottish) are good at it's sowing the seed, so to speak.
From where do you get that mad notion? That's not correct at all. Living in Dublin with friends from virtually every county and every single one of them would have been to wakes and not just for people of an elder generation. I'd go so far as to say it's standard practice across the country with a few isolated places where they don't.
I'm old enough to have been to many funerals all over Ireland and I've never experienced a wake as described in the piece outside of Achill. To be clear, the wake he describes involves having the body laid out in the sitting room for at least 24 hours. Having friends, neighbours, relatives and randomers traipsing in and out of the house at any time of day or night and regardless of the time, food and drink (and in the past cigarettes and tabacco) had to be offerred. Some people would assume the duty staying up all night to ensure the body was never left alone?
All funerals I've been too in towns and cities have held a viewing for the deceased in a funeral home.
Actually I googled it, to check if my experiences were wildly out of whack and it seem not - the top hit was https://rip.ie/article.php?AID=32 - and it concurs with my claim that wakes are becoming less and less common and that they are rarely seen in towns and cities these days. So it seems my notion isn't so mad after all!
The Dakota have a wake that starts with a car procession driving from a meeting point lead by the hearse which drives to the place of the wake. It is generally a community center due to the number of people. The wake starts and goes until the next morning when a mass is held at the church. After the mass, weather permitting, the person is laid to rest in the cemetery or whatever other arrangement was made. One of the facts of life in the north land is the body might have to be stored until winter is over and they can actually dig. A year later the family and close friends have a dinner to mark the end of mourning.
1) just a matter of etiquette, when a hearse with its lights on is followed by a lot of people with their lights on and sometimes preceded by a cop (if available) approaches in the opposite direction, pull your car over to the side of the road and stop until they go by. Its polite and expected in a lot of rural communities.
What differs is the body is normally in another room. Like everyone sessions in one room and people go in and out to pay their last respects from time to time.
I think it's good, for closure and stuff. I do think your man in the article is getting way to misty eyed and being over the top though.
Probably different families do it to different extents.
"Final Journeys" by Maggie Callanan
Also, The Grief Recovery Handbook, by John W James and Russell Friedman
"Grieving - The Sacred Art", by Lisa Irish
She’s convinced there’s something in the US that causes increased cancer rates vs. Ireland. No family history of cancer and apparently is less common there than here.
I thought it was interesting and have no data to back it up. Just thought I’d share a dying Irshwoman’s perspective.
It doesn't seem Ireland and the US are much different.