We work with Travellers to build a just, inclusive and welcoming community in and through faith

Customs at Time of Death

However, whatever the circumstances, the dead are never far from the living.

There are many different customs and rituals surrounding the experience of death in the Traveller community. Traditionally when someone died, the home and belongings were burnt. This custom of burning is not as common as it was but most families will sell the caravan because it brings back too many painful memories.

Some families have a tradition called the ‘ninth day’. With this custom the immediate family return to the grave nine days after the burial to show respect and pray for the person who has died. Others will have a month’s mind mass said in the first month or each month for a whole year.

Having masses said for the dead is a very special and important thing for us. The blessing of the cross or headstone is very important as well. This is done one year after the person has died. The headstone will have been put up and now it needs to be blessed by the priest. We all come, no matter where we are, for this, the end of the first year.

My brothers and sisters, we believe that all the ties of friendship and affection which knit us as one throughout our lives do not unravel with death.
 
Order of Christian Funerals

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