In many Latin cultures, death and dying are treated differently from any other. Instead of dismissing or shying away from it, many Latin cultures address this issue openly, honestly, and with acceptance. A great example of this is the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead. On November 2nd of each year, Mexico and other nations worldwide celebrate the legacy and life of those that they have lost in the past. Instead of making this tradition a time of mourning, it is celebrated with gifts of candles, food, sugar skulls, and even music and dancing. This is a fundamental distinction of how westernized cultures celebrate loss versus how Latin cultures do. Additionally, many of these customs come from traditional religious values that have been adopted over the centuries. With such a large percentage of Hispanic families in Central Florida and specifically Osceola county, it is important for us to understand the values and customs of these types of funerals. Let's take a closer look at how Hispanic families in Florida practice their funeral traditions.
Ties to Religion
A very large percentage of Latin families have ties to the traditional Catholic church. This tie influences a wide array of Hispanic culture which also encompasses funeral traditions. For many, this means that when families consider the death of a loved one, it symbolizes the soul returning home which makes it both a celebration of life and transcendence, as well as a process of mourning the individual that was lost in the physical realm. It is also important to note that while many Hispanic families associate themselves with the Catholic religion, not all do. In many instances, prayer, worship, and ritual are focal points of their funeral traditions. In some cases, family members adorn their loved ones with mementos or honor their caskets with images, gifts, or objects that they believe will help guide them in the afterlife.
Traditional Family Values
The role of the family may not be more omnipresent than in the culture of Latin or Hispanic cultures. Even after passing, loved ones are very much considered part of the family - both emotionally and physically - which is part of their connection to those that have been lost. An example of this would be that in some cultures, the family may be present to bathe and cleanse their loved ones and then dress them prior to the final viewing at their funeral. As it applies to Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary is very strongly represented as those who are mourning their loved ones will adorn the casket with cards of prayer, rosaries, or mementos that deeply connect family members with the individual that they have lost.
Traditionally, funerals in the Hispanic culture are more of a celebration of life than anything else. It can become a social event that involves food, drinks, dancing, and laughing that is meant to commemorate the individual that has been lost. This can also encompass jokes, stories, and reminiscing about the life that the person had led and why they were regarded the way they were by their family and social circle. The involvement of family members in this tradition makes it a unique experience in and of itself. At Baldwin Cremation, we recognize that each culture and ethnicity has its own way to celebrate and mourn the passing of a loved one. We take this into consideration when we tailor a ceremony that celebrates the life of someone that is near and dear to so many people. The Central and Southwest areas of Florida are home to a very large number of Hispanics and Latins and we are here to ensure that you are able to honor your loved one with a ceremony befitting of your culture. Call one of our Florida funeral home locations today for more information!