RE:SEARCH logo
University of Detroit Mercy Libraries / Instructional Design Studio
UDM HOME BLACKBOARD MY UDMERCY
RESEARCH HOME / FIND / SPECIAL COLLECTIONS / THE JAMES T. CALLOW FOLKLORE ARCHIVE /
James Callow Folklore Archive

Collection Home

About Dr. James T. Callow

Dr. James T. Callow publications

Collectors

Browse by

Subject heading

Keyword

Location

Questions or comments on this site? Please email davidsor@udmercy.edu.

The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

search for

Content filter is on

BAHAMIAN FUNERAL PROCESSION

IN THE BAHAMAS AFTER THE CHURCH CEREMONY IS HELD FOR THE
DECEASED, THE FRIENDS, RELATIVES AND LODGE (THESE ARE SPECIAL
ORGANIZATIONS IN THE BAHAMAS) MEMBERS FORM TWO LINES OUTSIDE
THE CHURCH. THE LODGE'S BAND HEAD THE PROCESSION RENDERING
SONGS LIKE "ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS" WITH A PARTICULARLY
LOUD BUT MOURNFUL THUMP ON THE BASS DRUM. THE PARTICIPANTS IN
A FUNERAL PROCESSION ARE BOTH CHILDREN AND ADULTS WALKING
SILENTLY AND SOLEMNLY IN PAIRS. LITTLE GIRLS DRESSED IN WHITE
WITH HUGE BUTTERFLY BOWS ATTACHED TO THEIR PIGTAILS AND LITTLE
BOYS IN CLEAN WHITE SHIRTS AND BLACK TROUSERS CARRY IMMENSE
WREATHS OF REAL (AND SOMETIMES ARTIFICIAL) FLOWERS AS WELL.
BEHIND THE CHILDREN WOMEN FOLLOW DRESSED IN THEIR WHITE UNIFORM
OR LODGE DRESSES. THEY ARE FOLLOWED BY A MAN CARRYING A
LODGE BANNER OF ONE OF THE FRATERNAL ORDERS IN THE SAME COLOURS
AS THE MEN'S SASHES OR IN THE LODGE'S COLOURS. THE OFFICIAL
UNIFORM WORN BY THE MEN CONSISTS OF THE FOLLOWING: BLACK SUITS, WHITE
SHIRTS, BLACK BOWTIES, BLACK TOP HATS, AND SASHES OR APRON-LIKE
WEAR EMBLEMS SUCH AS "BROTHERS" (OR BILLS) AND "DAUGHTERS" (OR
SISTERS) AROUND THEIR NECKS. BEHIND THE PROUD BANNER CARRIER
A GROUP OF TIGHTLY KNIT MEN TAKE THEIR LAST WALK WITH THEIR
LODGE "BROTHER". THESE MEN ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PUSHING THE
COFFIN ON A BIER TOWARD ITS FINAL DESTINATION. THE FAMILY
MEMBERS FOLLOW BEHIND IN ISOLATION (AND TODAY THE IMMEDIATE OR
CLOSE FAMILY FOLLOW IN BLACK CADILLACS BELONGING TO THE FUNERAL
HOME OR MORTICIAN). AFTER THE INTRODUCTION OF MOTOR VEHICLES
IN NASSAU HEARSES AND OTHER COMMODITIES SUCH AS A CAR FOR
THE FAMILY ARE USED. OTHER MEMBERS MAY CHOOSE TO RIDE THEIR
CARS INSTEAD OF MARCHING IN THE PROCESSION, BUT FREQUENTLY
MANY PEOPLE SHOW THEIR RESPECT FOR THE DEAD BY MARCHING IN
THE PROCESSION. THE FACT THAT MOST CHURCHES ARE WITHIN WALKING
DISTANCE OF A CEMETERY IS ALSO ANOTHER REASON. IN SOME CASES
THE CEMETERY MAY BE IN THE CHURCH'S YARD.
AT THE CEREMONIES AROUND THE GRAVE, AFTER THE CHURCH OR
OFFICIAL CEREMONY ARE COLORFUL OR DRAMATIC PERFORMANCES
SUCH AS VARIOUS SIGNALS WITH THE HANDS AND ARMS. FOR EXAMPLE:
(1) THE MEMBERS WOULD STRETCH THEIR ARMS OUT.
(2) THEN THEY WOULD CLASP THEIR ARMS TO THEIR BREASTS THREE
TO FOUR TIMES.
(3) AFTER THIS IS DONE THEY WOULD RESPOND TO A READING FROM THE
BIBLE OR THEIR MANUAL BOOK IN UNISON.
(4) FINALLY THEY WOULD GRASP THE GREEN LEAF OR FOLIAGE THAT
HAD BEEN PINNED TO THEIR LAPELS (OR HATS) AND IN ONE FINAL
GESTURE THROW IT IN THE GRAVE OF THE DECEASED.

Submitter comment: IN THE BAHAMAS THE LODGE OR ORGANIZATIONS ADD TO THE FLARE
AND TRADITION OF THE BAHAMIAN PEOPLE. BAHAMIANS TAKE THEIR
LODGES VERY SERIOUSLY AND KEEP UP THEIR PAYMENTS WHEN THEY ARE
DUE. THEY DO THIS BECAUSE THEY ENJOY HELPING OTHERS IN
THEIR SOCIETY AND PROBABLY BECAUSE THE WANT TO BE PUT DOWN
OR BURIED IN STYLE.

Where learned: BAHAMAS ; NASSAU

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Custom
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00001970S

University of Detroit Mercy
4001 W. McNichols Detroit , MI , 48221-3038
This site is endorsed by the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) and supports the views, values, and mission of UDM. The University of Detroit Mercy web site provides links to other web sites, both public and private, for informational purposes. The inclusion of these links on UDM's site does not imply endorsement by the University. Please contact the Instructional Design Studio for any questions regarding this web site.