So I went home for my grandmother's funeral (she was very old and very sick, so it was expected) this weekend, and I realized something: my family is really, profoundly Southern. Forgive the tl;dr that follows; I somehow came out of this weekend with MANY thinky thoughts about cultures and rituals and arhives, and I've just got to get them out somewhere, so...yeah.
Funerals are already weird cultural rituals to begin with; they're also very culturally specific. Every culture has its own shade of weird. I knew this, of course, but I didn't really think about it until this weekend - the fact that the funerals I grew up with might not be the funerals everyone else grew up with. It's a bit like having to go overseas in order to realize how American (or other nationality) you are. I am not sure, however, which parts of *my* kind of funerals are attributable to Southern-ness, which to Texan-ness, and which to religion. What you have to know: my family is a particular shade of southern Christian known as Church of Christ. (Or if you're particular, churches of Christ. Also known as CoC). Funerals in our tradition basically have four parts: visitation, funeral at the church, graveside service, and food. Unrelenting, never-ending food.
( First there's food, then visitation, then Serious Food, then funeral, procession, graveside, and then more food. Many unnecessary details under the cut. )
I'm not entirely sure why I felt the driving need to write this all down. I think my inner academic deals with stress by doing auto-ethnography.