Common Traditions During a Mexican American Funeral Ceremony

Rose on the tombstone

People around the world have different attitudes toward death. One of the most positive national attitudes toward death can be found in Mexico, where death is not a taboo subject but rather something that is widely accepted as a natural part of life from a young age. Cultural ways of coping with death in Mexico have influenced the Mexican American funeral ceremony, which can be characterized by the following customs.

The Wake
After notifying members of the community about the death, a wake is often held at the family home of the deceased. This is an opportunity for loved ones to pay their respects in a more intimate setting before the funeral service is held. It is also a time for those most affected by the loss to be comforted and consoled.

The Service
Mexican American funerals tend to be elaborate, as no expenses can be spared when it comes to sending a loved one into the afterlife. In spite of a broader understanding and acceptance of death than can be found at funeral ceremonies in most cultures, Mexican American funerals are very emotional. Often present are colorful floral arrangements and various memorabilia of the life of the deceased.

The Burial
The strong Catholic influence found in Mexican American culture makes the traditional burial a far more popular option than cremation. An in-ground burial typically follows a funeral service, and serves as another ceremony at which the deceased’s life is honored.

Later Celebrations
Mexican Americans honor their dead throughout the year, and not only on the anniversary of a loved one’s birth or death. Every November, family and friends gather to pay homage to loved ones they have lost. Dia de los muertos , or “day of the dead,” can be celebrated by marchers in a costume-intensive parade, grave site visits, and the construction of private altars containing food and beverage sacrifices.

At Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park, & Crematory, you will find a compassionate and experienced staff that is aware of and sensitive to cultural funeral customs and practices. If you are looking to plan a funeral in the Tacoma area that would have made your deceased Mexican American relative smile, call (253) 584-0252 today.

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