\"A

A scene from "Waking Ned Devine"

Wake decorum: What to do at an Irish Wake

\"A

A scene from "Waking Ned Devine"

1. Upon entering the wake house, you should first go to the corpse and say a few prayers for the soul’s repose. Then, greet the family. The traditional phrase is, “I’m sorry for your troubles,” especially to a widow.

2. There is no mourning in the house until the body has been properly prepared. We don’t want the fairies or the Devil to catch the soul before the angels do!

3. Clocks should be stopped at the time of death as a sign of respect. Mirrors should be covered or turned to the wall. This is a time for more important reflections.

4. Keening (Caoine) is more than crying; it is praise and lament for the deceased. In the past, professional keeners and bards were hired to recite the genealogy and virtues of the dead and to lead the mourning.

5. The drinking of whiskey and poteen (poitin, a.k.a. moonshine) has long been a part of the mourning process. It is not moderated.

Likewise, pipes and tobacco were considered an essential part of the wake. Smoke supposedly “purifies” the air and relaxes mourners.

6. Food and drink are provided as the household is capable. Neighbors contribute as needed, for a good feast is a sign of respect. Salt 7. is also a charm against evil and is often provided.

8. The corpse is never to be left unattended or in the dark. That would be the worst sort of disrespect.

9. “Sing a song at a Wake and shed a tear at a birth.” Songs, games and stories are a part of the wake. They celebrate the life of the deceased and continuation of life among the survivors. Giving the dead “a great send-off” is a matter of pride and sign of respect.

10. However, the Church has tried to suppress the drinking, feasting and keening at wakes for centuries. Therefore, please tone it down if a priest happens by.

 

Visit Katie of the Fairies' Web site at: www.irishteller.com or email her at: storyteller@dublin.com

COMMENTS

Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:


Already have an account ?

For Newsletter Subscribers – Draw for 1 Prize on December 31st.

Prize: Your Piece of Ireland – a Square of Land in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, Ireland

More details here (or you can buy a little piece of Ireland directly): http://bit.ly/1zew9ox

Terms & Conditions

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.


Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: