Ask Any Utican and They Will Tell You, Never Go Right Home After a Wake or Funeral
From as far back as I can remember my family would never go directly home after calling hours or a funeral mass. There was always food involved and especially since I was of legal age to drink, alcohol was involved. It derives from a superstition, one that is not easily messed with.
I recently attended calling hours, or a wake as they are commonly referred to, with someone who had never heard of such superstition. While its origins are not easily traced, I remember my mom especially always saying we had to stop somewhere afterward as "not to bring death home." It may be an excuse for those who attend wakes or burial masses to have food and drinks afterward, but nonetheless, there are several people who believe it is bad luck to go right home following services.
Many traditions include a gathering of some kind following burial ceremonies, especially after a funeral mass. But, there are several other burial traditions throughout the world that are very strange. The website Britannica.com gives a list of "7 Unique Burial Rituals Across the World" For example, 'The Sky Burial' is commonly used by Tibetan Buddhists and is believed to send loved ones' souls toward heaven. The tradition may be considered grotesque to some, but for those who utilize the method, it's deeply religious. Basically, the body is left outside and often cut into pieces. Then the pieces are left for birds or other animals to devour. Britannica says,
This serves the dual purpose of eliminating the now empty vessel of the body and allowing the soul to depart, while also embracing the circle of life and giving sustenance to animals.
Another method that may seem strange to some is "Famadihana" or Dancing with the Dead. This tradition is done by the people in Madagascar. Britannica.com says,
The Malagasy people open the tombs of their dead every few years and re-wrap them in fresh burial clothes. Each time the dead get fresh wrappings, they also get a fresh dance near the tomb while music plays all around. This ritual—translated as the “turning of the bones”—is meant to speed up decomposition and push the spirit of the dead toward the afterlife.
Other interesting burial methods include Water Burial, The Parade, Tower of Silence and Ashes to Death Beads. So, the next time you attend a wake or funeral mass with a person from Utica and they say "let's go out after this," respect the superstition that person has. Nobody wants to ever bring death home.