Coffins, candles, and camerasaspects of brazilian funerals

Aspects of Brazilian funerals from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century

Authored by: Andréia de Sousa Martins

The Routledge Handbook of Death and the Afterlife

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138682160
eBook ISBN: 9781315545349
Adobe ISBN:


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In the 1800s, Brazilian funerary rituals were quite public: not only were family and friends expected, but colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers were also welcome to attend the wake and funeral procession. With the influence of the French Sanitary Revolution, things began to change for Brazilians by the end of the nineteenth century. Burials inside churches were prohibited, and churchyards were transformed into cemeteries and moved to the outskirts of the cities. These changes resulted in the gradual removal of the dead from the bosom of community life. As a result of this transference, from the twentieth century on, Brazilian funerary rituals became private affairs for family and close friends. In this chapter, I explore the ways in which the wake has changed in Brazil from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century through the presence – or absence – of some of its components: coffins, candles, and cameras.

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